Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM, has been appointed interim director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) at Iowa State University. He replaces John Mabry, who served as the center’s director since 2000. Baker’s two-year appointment will end June 30, 2014.

“Dr. Baker brings a wealth of experience in the private sector and academia to the position,” says John Lawrence, associate dean of Extension and Outreach for Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the director of ISU Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources. “He is well respected across the pork industry and will strengthen linkages between producers and the IPIC.”

“I also want to thank Dr. Mabry for leading the IPIC for the past 12 years through a significant transition in the pork industry,” Lawrence says.

Baker is a senior clinician in the Food Supply Veterinary Services unit at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and is a partner in a medium-sized breeding herd and pork production system. He is the holder of the Dr. David R. Trask Professorship in Entrepreneurial Studies at Iowa State.

“I am pleased that Dr. Baker has been selected to lead the IPIC,” says Patrick Halbur, DVM, chair of the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department and executive director of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory at Iowa State. “Dr. Baker is well connected to the leaders throughout the pork production chain. He will use those connections and his experience and knowledge of pork production and health assurance to move the IPIC forward.”

Prior to joining the staff at Iowa State in 2006, Baker was a clinical associate professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Baker began his veterinary career as a mixed-animal practitioner in Kentucky. After 17 years in private practice, he worked as a private consultant to integrated pork producers across the United States and internationally, and worked for a leading swine genetics company and in the biopharmaceutical industry. He received his veterinary degree from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a master’s degree from Iowa State University.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to lead the IPIC as the industry continues through challenging times,” Baker says. “I look forward to strengthening the IPIC’s relations with internal and external stakeholders and to enhancing the delivery of science to producers through our excellent field service team.”

IPIC was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the college of Veterinary Medicine at ISU. Its mission is to promote efficient pork production technologies in Iowa, maintain Iowa's pork industry leadership and strengthen rural development efforts. IPIC focuses its efforts on programs that are integral and complementary to ISU Extension and Outreach. Through IPIC, Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to make their operations more efficient and profitable.