At the recent 2019 Iowa Pork Congress, the Iowa Pork Producers Association introduced the 2018 class of Master Pork Producers and Master Pork Partners.
A Master Pork Producer award denotes an individual’s or family’s excellence in pork production, as measured by their pork production statistics, commitment to the “We Care” principles and their contribution to their community. There are six We Care principles that outline a pig farmer’s responsibilities to uphold high standards for animal care, food production, the environment, people and community involvement.
The 2018 Master Pork Producers and Master Pork Partners were honored at the 2019 Iowa Pork Congress. IPPA’s 77th class of Master Pork Producers includes nine pig farmers, listed here with their town and county.
Master Pork Producers
Iowa’s 2018 Master Pork Producers are:
- Chet and Cassie Mogler, Alvord, Lyon County
- Brian Lundell, Odebolt, Sac County
- Kathy Pratt, Aurelia, Cherokee County
- Fred and Donna Zenk, Akron, Plymouth County
- Dominic and Karen Hogan, Monticello, Jones County
- Gene Tinker, Manchester, Delaware County
- Ryan Kress, Winthrop, Buchanan County
- Terry and Janet Mann, Turin, Monona County
- Dennis and Laurel Heithoff, Carroll, Carroll County
IPPA started the Master Pork Producer Award program in 1942 and has now named 1,484 Iowa pig farmers as Master Pork Producers.
IPPA created the Master Pork Partner Award in 2014 to recognize pork production company employees who have made positive impacts on pork production systems, even though they don’t have active daily roles at a specific production site. However, they have demonstrated positive impacts in their production systems and a commitment to the pork industry’s We Care ethical principles.
Master Pork Partners
Iowa’s 2018 Master Pork Partners are:
- Cassandra Jass, DVM, Iowa Select Farms, Iowa Falls
- Josh Bowden, DVM, Winthrop Veterinary Clinic, Winthrop
- Craig Riesgaard, Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic, Audubon
All award winners are nominated by peers and neighbors and represent the diversity of Iowa’s pork production farms. This production diversity helps maintain the strength of the industry and enables Iowa producers to compete successfully in the domestic and international commodity and niche markets.
The IPPA and Iowa State University Extension co-sponsor the Master Pork Producer program to demonstrate the character and breadth of Iowa pork production. Nominations for the 2019 Master Pork Program awards will open in May.
Committed to caring for livestock
“Pulling pigs” at age five triggered a lifelong commitment to animal care for Cassandra Jass, today a veterinarian and one of the people honored as a 2018 Master Pork Partner by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
"I remember I had a gilt farrowing one evening, and my hand was too big to sleeve her,” producer Don Roe says. “I went in the house to see if Cassandra would help pull the pigs. She was 5.”
That experience on a small farm near Williams in north-central Iowa was Cassandra’s first introduction to livestock, one that triggered a lifelong passion for animal care. “After that day, Cassandra was by my side when I was in the farrowing house, helping me ‘catch pigs’ and chore the barns,” Roe says. “By age 6, she had a 2-gallon pail she used to fill the nursery feeders. Her favorite boars were routinely treated to M&M’s she dutifully carried in her pocket. She wanted to be out working with the animals.”
Now fully grown with family of her own, Cassandra — now Dr. Cassandra Jass, DVM, and working for Iowa Select Farms as director of production well-being — was recently recognized as a Master Pork Partner by IPPA for her work and dedication to livestock care and health.
She started with Iowa Select Farms her freshman year of college, testing blood samples at the company’s diagnostic lab in Iowa Falls. The following summer she joined the firm’s sow production internship program, which pointed her right back to her first love: farrowing.
A biotechnology degree at Ellsworth Community College led to pursuing animal science at Iowa State University, followed by ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she specialized in large-animal medicine. After graduation, she joined the Iowa Select Farms veterinary team in 2012, working with farm managers and growers to help them improve pig health.