Retiring ISU swine expert named Honorary Master Pork Producer

February 2, 2015

Source: Iowa Pork Producers Association Press Release

Contacts: 
Dr. Rodney "Butch" Baker, College of Veterinary Medicine, 515-294-9358
Rich Degner, Iowa Pork Producers Association, 800-372-7675

(CLIVE, Iowa) — The contributions of a retiring Iowa State University official to the success of the pork industry have been recognized by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Dr. Rodney “Butch” Baker, senior clinician in the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, received the Honorary Master Pork Producer plaque at the 43rd annual Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines last night.

The Kentucky native has been a valuable resource to hog farmers and the Iowa Pork Producers Association as the industry looked to better understand and control swine heath challenges. His ability to connect with producers has made him a valuable presenter at the Iowa Pork Congress and IPPA regional producer conferences, among others.

Baker has placed strong emphasis on disease prevention through his research and educational outreach to producers and students. He has played a critical role in control efforts for the PRRS swine virus and recently expanded this knowledge to the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. He also has worked to better understand influenza dynamics in pigs. He played a major role in the development of the “trailer baker” systems and adapted poultry research to heat hog transport trailers to 150-165° F. for 10 minutes to inactivate PRRS, TGE and enteric bacteria.

Prior to joining Iowa State University in 2006, Baker served various veterinary clinic and consulting roles in Kentucky before also working for Bayer Animal Health, Pig Improvement Company (PIC), Premium Standard Farms (PSF) and North Carolina State University. Dr. Baker also recently served as the interim director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center at ISU.

In addition to his university work, Baker is part owner of a 2,400-sow breed-to-wean farm in Georgia and another farm in Kentucky that is dedicated to sow well-being research and leased to Cargill Meat solutions.

Baker also has lent support to his profession, serving as both vice president and president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. He was recognized as a Master of the Pork Industry by National Hog Farmer in 2013.

Dr. Baker was raised on a small, diversified farm in Owensboro, Ky., and found interest in the veterinary profession at a young age, eventually receiving a DVM from Auburn University in 1978. He earned a master’s degree in veterinary diagnostics and production animal medicine from ISU in 1999.

Butch plans to retire this year and looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Emma, and other family, as well as his favorite hobby, sailing.

The Honorary Master Pork Producer Award is presented each year for outstanding and distinguished service to the betterment and success of Iowa’s pork industry. Recipients are selected by the IPPA Board of Directors and the program is funded by the Pork Checkoff.