The Iowa pork industry has a long history of honoring producers who excel in the production of hogs and this is another significant award that has been handed out since 1958.
Sponsored by the Iowa Purebred Swine Council, the Master Seedstock Producer Award is designed to recognize significant contributions to the Iowa and national purebred industries and for evidence of genetic improvements within their selected breeds for the benefit of Iowa, the nation and, in many cases, internationally.
That initial 1958 class consisted of Wilbert Meinhart of Hudson, Wallace Lang and his son, Tom, of Brooklyn and Bernard Weed and sons of Ute.
Over the years, recipients of the Master Seedstock Producer Award have become a virtual “Who’s Who” of seedstock producers in Iowa purebred circles — the Friedows of Kanawha, the Hirsches of Indianola, the Stewarts of Waverly, the Eddie brothers of Storm Lake, the Conover family, Curtiss of Churdan, the Olsons, the Huinkers, the Christians and so many other distinguished producers.
With thousands of people involved in pork production in Iowa, it is a rare honor to receive the award and more than 100 Master Seedstock Producers have now been recognized since the award’s inception.
2018 Master Seedstock Producer
The Master Seedstock Award is presented annually by the Iowa Purebred Swine Council to recognize outstanding seedstock producers who exemplify integrity, leadership and success in the production and promotion of the purebred swine industry.
We’re proud to introduce the recipient of the 2018 Master Seedstock Producer Award.
Rick and Ryan Abbas
Aplington, Butler Co.
Applington, 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.
The Iowa Purebred Swine Council has sponsored the Master Seedstock Award since 1958 and has selected one Master Seedstock Award recipient each year since then. Its purpose is to recognize significant contributions to the Iowa and national purebred industries and for evidence of genetic improvements within their selected breeds for the benefit of Iowa, the nation and, in many cases, internationally.