Farming was a childhood dream for Ryan Baragary. Today, as a partner with G&W Pork—owned in part by Al and Kathy Wulfekuhle of Quasqueton—he takes care of farrowing at a sow farm, as well as helps with two finisher buildings and a gilt developer unit. In 2018, Ryan built his own wean-to-finish barn near Winthrop.

In 2019, G&W sold all of its hogs to Tyson, with most going to the Waterloo plant.

As a youngster, Ryan, 34, helped his dad and uncle with pig chores. After they got out of the business in the late ‘90s, Ryan worked for Al Wulfekuhle as a summer job during high school. He also began helping neighbors with their pigs, including one family who had hoop barns. He built more relationships while earning an associate degree in agriculture production management from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. “I had a lot of different experiences and a lot of brains I was able to pick,” Ryan recalled. “They all kind of took me under their wing and showed me the ropes of the industry.”

Ryan Baragary of Masonville, Iowa, was named a Master Pork Producer during Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 26, 2021.

Farrowing and handling piglets are among Ryan’s favorite things. A few years ago, his sow farms moved to a batch farrowing system, which he’s come to enjoy. He also noted that as frustrating as gilts are at times, “they’re kind of my pride and joy.”

Ryan’s dad and uncle continue to farm about 600 acres together, and Ryan rents nearly 75 acres from them to grow corn and soybeans. They plant no-till beans and utilize strip-till practices for corn, and started using cover crops about three years ago. Ryan fertilizes their ground with manure injection.

The Buchanan County Pork Producers named Ryan their 2020 Master Pork Producer. A longtime active member, he’s served as a past secretary and president, and is credited with holding the county board together when membership dwindled to three.

His other community involvement includes helping with fish fry dinners during the Lenten season for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Winthrop, and volunteering at the Fish & Chicken Fry fundraising events hosted by the Buchanan County Fair Association. He currently is a secretary of the board of directors at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Winthrop.