Alan Wulfekuhle – Quasqueton, Iowa
Alan Wulfekuhle is the owner and operator of G&W Pork in Quasqueton, Iowa. G&W Pork is a farrow-to-finish farm that markets 45,000 pigs annually. He also raises corn and soybeans.
Wulfekuhle was active with the Iowa Pork Producers from 2010 to 2017, serving as president in 2016. He now serves on the National Swine Disease Response Council and was previously on multiple national and state committees. Wulfekuhle is on the advisory board for the College of Veterinarian Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University and on the Swine Day planning committee. He is a board member of the Monti Community Center and his church.
Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?
I volunteer because I believe I can make a difference. We are at a critical juncture in US Pork Production with our livelihood more and more tied to being competitive in the worldwide meat production industry. I want to be part of the team that provides producers with tools they need to improve herd health and production, also packer/processors tools they need to improve consumer demand and acceptance of our product and practices.
What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?
Foreign animal disease introduction into the US is by far the biggest risk. Loss of exports would be economically devastating. Pork is a true supply/demand market, we lower the price until someone buys. We have a group of highly motivated/passionate people working together to develop a plan to keep FAD’s out of this country and stomp out quickly if one gets in. I’m one of these people.
Plant based proteins/alternatives to meat products. An enormous amount of investor money is flowing into this industry, they will carve out a market share. How we as the US pork industry responds will play a huge factor on how big this share becomes.
Public acceptance of our production practices. Today’s producers have a great story to tell, producing more pork with far less resources than ever before. Yet caring for and making efficient use of the earth’s resources is only part of what consumers desire. We need to address, answer and respond to all their concerns. They are our customers and as an industry, we will adapt what we produce and how we produce it to satisfy their needs.
What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?
The “pig survivability project” with NPB is a perfect example of how much potential remains untapped in US pig industry. Being on NPB animal science committee and working with Iowa State University researchers for so many years has me closely connected.
I’ve been involved with NPB, IPPA and private industry movement to utilize new technology in pork production. I’m honored to represent producers on research committees. Your checkoff funded research is seeing some amazing results.
Gene-editing, this is a game changer. The country that secures government/consumer acceptance first, will have an enormous economic advantage over the rest of the world’s pork producers. I’ve done NPB media training for gene-editing and encourage all producers to learn about and be ready to promote gene-editing whenever the opportunity arises.
If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?
I love this industry and the people in it. We are hardworking, independent, mentally tough and ready to persevere through all obstacles. I know, I’ve lived it my entire life.
Success in life depends on each of our abilities to surround ourselves with the best people. Helping people become their best requires our assistance. Education, motivation, and trust are key components. After that, it comes down to providing tools they need to become successful. I’ve been blessed to be able to do that in my own business.
I want to be part of the team at the National Pork Board that assists U.S. producers and everyone involved in this great industry, become the best they can be.
Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?
I learned the importance of pig health early in my career. When the foreign animal disease “PRRS” got into this country (and my farm) it was depressing and economically devastating. I wanted to be part of the solution, so I joined in Dr. Morrison/UM “time to negative study”, worked with Jean Paul Cano/BI starting one of the first Regional control projects, Dr. Holtkamp/ISU in his epi work, Dr. Main/ISU labs in testing and Jeff Kaisand/IDALS with premise ID database.
Since then more foreign animal diseases (Circo, HINI, PED, Seneca Valley) have made their way into the US. All of these are minor compared to what African Swine Fever could do to our industry.
I want to be part of the team that stomps out the next foreign animal disease that gets into this country. Together we can do this.
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