Spencer pork producer becomes new IPPA president

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A pork producer from Spencer has been installed as the new president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA).

Greg Lear began his one-year term at the conclusion of Tuesday's IPPA Annual Meeting in Des Moines.

Bill Tentinger, a pork producer from Le Mars, held the position of IPPA president in 2012.

Lear has been on the IPPA Board of Directors since 2006 and served as president-elect in 2012, according to a press release.

He's honored to lead the group in the coming year.

"We have a good, diverse group of people on the board and we are losing some retiring members who will be missed," he said in the press release. "Their years of experience will be difficult to replace."

Lear takes the leadership role at a time of uncertainty for the pork industry, especially as it relates to the current predominant sow housing system, and it concerns him.

"Our industry is under constant attack from different directions and our way of life is being threatened. We're going to take our industry back using the same tactics as our opponents: one consumer at a time," said Lear. "IPPA is a grassroots organization and we're the ones who need to tell our story the way it needs to be told."

The pork industry is opposed to new USDA rules governing school lunches and is working to have rules changed to permit more pork and other protein to be served to school children. Lear is passionate about making this happen.

"We have a major issue with the calorie count, but especially the protein content of the new lunch rules. A growing mind and a growing body do not need to be shorted protein, Lear said. "We need to get Washington, D.C.'s attention, or maybe Mrs. Obama's in this case."

He also said the use of antibiotics in livestock production is being brought into question and in his words "the truth needs to be told on the antibiotic issue."

At the state level, Lear lauded the recently launched Iowa Farm Animal Care program. "This is going to be a wonderful service for people who have questions or concerns."

In addition to co-owning Spencer Ag Center, Lear owns a separate wean-to-finish hog business in Clay County.