Gene Noem – Ames, Iowa
Gene Noem is the owner of KD Feeders in Iowa. This farm is a wean-to-finish operation that markets 20,000 pigs annually. Noem also manages the contracted gilt multiplication for PIC North America.
Noem serves on the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) board of directors and on the IPPA swine health and welfare committee. He is currently finishing his first term serving on the National Pork Board and chaired the We Care℠ task force.
What do you consider the major issue facing the pork industry today?
The U.S. pork industry has obvious advantages to other parts of the world as a supplier of pork products to the world. The U.S. has ingredient cost advantages, no doubt. There are also high levels of interest and opportunities to ensure manure is used as a farming resource in many areas of operation. The absence of foreign animal disease agents (such as AFS, foot and mouth disease) makes the U.S. an attractive supply area for much of the worlds’ pork products.
Our challenges come in the ability to grow the industry and be the worlds’ supplier of choice. The U.S. pork industry must continue to organize and implement efforts to tell the story of our production practices, employee care, and community involvement all while being environmentally and financially sustainable. Our industry story is solid. Our efforts to tell the story effectively, put a face on the industry, and ensure baseless accusations do not take front stage are beginning to gel and be heard.
We also have to speak to our members. Some new techniques may be needed to communicate our message to all kinds of producers. New efforts to divide our producer membership could present a threat to the Checkoff mission and success.
What do you think should be the main goal of the Checkoff and National Pork Board?
The main goal of the Checkoff and National Pork Board should not change. Tactics can change, emphasizing different activities, but the goals of promotion, education and research are appropriate.
Our next step must put the industry in a position to demonstrate the good things we do, and challenge ourselves to do more in the area of sustainability.
Why are you seeking this position?
I have a desire to serve the industry that has served me well. I also believe my experiences and skills can be used by the NPB to achieve objectives. I have reviewed the schedules with the business owner. If I am re-elected to the board, we will be well prepared to cover my duties as I serve on the National Pork Board.