Matt Gent named new president of Iowa Pork Producers Association

Washington County pig farmer Matt Gent is the new president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA). He took over the role during the organization’s annual meeting in Des Moines on January 23. Gent and his family own a farrow-to-finish swine enterprise called Prairie Pork near Wellman. They also grow corn and soybeans.

“I look forward to representing Iowa pork producers while addressing the challenges and opportunities we face in the upcoming year,” Gent said. “Each year brings new opportunities to share our story, to stren gthen our domestic and international relationships, and to share our commitment to grow rural Iowa. “

Gent served as IPPA’s president-elect in 2023. He replaces Trish Cook of Winthrop, who now holds the position of past president on the IPPA Board of Directors. Cook was the first female president in IPPA’s history. Gent praised Cook for her leadership during a very difficult year for pork producers. Both Gent and Cook will serve one-year terms in their new roles.

“It is no secret that our industry is changing and as an organization we need to adapt to the needs of our producers and consumers,” Gent added. “There is no doubt we have our work cut out for us this coming year.”

Matt Gent joined the IPPA Board of Directors in 2018. He was named a Master Pork Producer in 2015 and has served as an IPPA delegate to the National Pork Forum. At the local level, Gent has served on the Washington County Pork Producers Board of Directors since 2010, including stints as president and vice president. He is also a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Gent has an agriculture business degree from Kirkwood Community College.

Other changes on the IPPA Board include:

· Carroll County pig farmer Aaron Juergens was named IPPA president-elect.

· Bob Webb, from Carroll, was named District 5 director. Webb is a senior finishing supervisor with Iowa Select Farms. He oversees nearly 200 farms and manages a team of 10 finishing supervisors.

· Chris Bellcock, from Norwalk, was named District 6 director. Bellcock has served as the marketing and logistics director for Prestage Farms of Iowa for the past 16 years. He volunteers at the Iowa State Fair Pork Tent annually.

The board oversees leadership and direction for all IPPA Pork Checkoff programs, public policy, and general direction of the organization.

During the annual meeting, the delegates passed four resolutions:

· IPPA strongly encourages NPPC to expeditiously work towards a federal solution in the U.S. Congress to address and prevent state propositions and/or laws that restrict producers’ rights to operate freely.

· That IPPA and National Pork Board (NPB) invest time and checkoff funds to move pork products through the retail channel as quickly as possible and invest checkoff resources to initiate innovation and development of new pork products for consumers as quickly as possible.

· That IPPA continues to encourage the National Pork Board to further develop and test new food frequency questionnaires and dietary evaluation tools that clearly isolate pork, to better understand impacts of pork on nutrition and health outcomes.

· That IPPA encourages packers to include producer owner representatives and livestock hauler representatives in the process of setting any new delivery policy at plants, and that all parties improve communications and cooperate to improve unloading times at packing plants.