2018 pork industry honours

Tom Baas is awarded with the Distinguished Service Award, while Dick Isler receives the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award
calendar icon 5 March 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

The National Pork Board today honoured Tom Baas as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award during the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. Baas is a former animal science professor at Iowa State University.

At the pork industry’s annual business meeting each year, the award is presented to an outstanding leader to recognise his or her lifelong contribution to the pork industry.

Professor Tom Baas, recipient of the National Pork Board Distinguished Service Award (left) and Dick Isler recipient of the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award (right).

National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel commended Professor Baas on receiving the award:

Tom has provided extraordinary leadership to the pork industry. Through the years, he worked tirelessly for the advancement of the pork industry and mentored numerous students at Iowa State University.

Baas grew up in Kossuth County, Iowa, graduating high school in West Bend. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science and later his master’s and PhD all from Iowa State University. Baas worked in various aspects of the pork industry, including with the Duroc Swine Registry and on his own farm raising pigs, before he became a mainstay at Iowa State University as an animal science professor and advisor.

His practical experience prepared Baas for working with students and helped shape his approach to education. The real-world experience proved beneficial to those who learned from Baas, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Baas’ keen foresight for a brighter future for the pork industry played out in many pursuits. He believed a higher quality pork product was possible and was instrumental in implementing the use of ultrasound to study marbling in pork and live animals so data could be used in genetic improvement programmes.

The National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) also presented Dick Isler, former state executive of the Ohio Pork Council with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award. The award was developed cooperatively by the Pork Board and NPPC and recognises the outstanding leadership and commitment of state pork executives. It was named after two top leaders – Don Paulson, past Minnesota state pork executive, and Rex Whitmore, past Wisconsin state pork executive.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold.

Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programmes in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management.

As reported by Pork Checkoff

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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