Iowa Pork Producers elects its first-ever woman president

DES MOINES — For the first time in about nine decades, the Iowa Pork Producers Association is being run by a woman.

Trish Cook, of Buchanan County, was elected Tuesday at the organization’s annual meeting. Cook and her family run a farm near Winthrop that produces 32,000 hogs a year as well as corn and soybeans.

As for being the first woman in the post, Cook says the things that are important to her are important to all pork producers. “Everything we do is as a team on our farm,” Cook says. “My husband and I are a team. We have roles that we both need to fulfill to make our farm be successful, just like on our board of directors. We’ve got a great board of directors, we have the executive council, and we have a wonderful staff, so I feel honored to be elected to this position but it’s all a very large team effort.”

Cook was the association’s president-elect throughout 2022 and she replaces Kevin Rasmussen of Goldfield as president.  “The process at Iowa Pork, where you have a year as president-elect before you’re the president, is great,” Cook says, “in that you have an opportunity to work as a team, also with the past president, and that’s a great opportunity to learn from people who’ve been in the role ahead of you.”

Cook has an accounting degree from Iowa State University and an M-B-A from the University of Iowa. Cook says one of her goals for 2023 is to build on the vigilance Iowa pork producers have developed in recent years to guard against biohazards.  “What we’re looking forward to this year and the year ahead is just continuing to be prepared the best we can for the event of a possible foreign animal disease,” Cook says. “We’re working on updating our strategic plan with Iowa Pork Producers. We haven’t looked at it for about five to six years, so we know it’s time.”

The IPPA was originally known as the Iowa Swine Growers Association, with meetings dating back to the early 1930s.