Aplington, Iowa, brothers Rick Abbas and Ryan Abbas have been raising purebred swine for over 30 years. Their work and success in that field was recognized during the 2019 Iowa Pork Congress. There, they received the Iowa Purebred Swine Council’s Master Seedstock Producer Award, which recognizes an outstanding purebred swine seedstock producer who has proven to be a notable example of integrity, leadership, and success in the production of purebred swine seedstock.
They operate RAR Genetics, a show pig and seedstock herd of 90 sows, as well as a boar stud with 30 boars. Rick mostly manages the sow herd, while Ryan has primary responsibilities with the boar stud. The primary breeds are Yorkshire, Hampshire, Duroc, and crossbreds. They stand a few Chester White, Berkshire, and Spot boars as well.
Rick and Ryan are the 2nd generation of a diversified family farm. Both brothers helped their Dad and another brother with a farrowing operation since they were children. The official start of the seedstock business was the same time as Rick’s graduation from high school.
The farrowing house at RAR Genetics has 20 stalls and they farrow twice per year; from January 1 through February and late summer/early fall. Rick and Ryan sell 60-80 percent of the pigs into show pig homes throughout the U.S. using a combination of online sales, word-of-mouth, repeat customers, and production sales. The remaining pigs are sold as feeder pigs or are exhibited and sold as breeding stock boars. They have also placed some bred sows into other seedstock operations.
Today, their boar stud business is primarily for other show pig and purebred seedstock breeders. Ryan collects boars just about every day during the busy seasons and they have shipped semen to almost every state in the lower 48 states.
Their hard work has become success for their customers at shows across the country. As just a few examples of their show ring success stories in the past five years, they had a class winning and highest selling gilt at the National Swine Registry Southwest Type Conference in Belton, TX and the Grand Champion Yorkshire Boar at the Iowa State Fair Open Show in 2017. In 2016, they exhibited the Champion Hampshire gilt at the NSR Winter Type Conference. In 2015, they bred the Champion Hampshire Gilt in the FFA show at the Iowa State Fair and the Champion Hampshire Boar at the Wisconsin State Fair. In 2014, they had the Reserve Champion Crossbred Boar at the NSR Winter Type Conference. RAR Genetics is a member of the Iowa Purebred Swine Council.
Both brothers and their families are actively involved in the Austinville Christian Reformed Church and volunteer at various events with 4-H and FFA. Rick and Ryan also both drive school buses for the local school district and Rick is a past youth soccer coach.
Rick and his wife Melanie have three adult children; while Ryan and his wife Barbara have four children.