Kerns is new president of IPPA
International travels will help
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
DES MOINES -- Steve; Kerns, newly elected president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, brings unique skills to office.
Through his seed stock business he has travelled extensively internationally but remains firmly grounded in his Clearfield operation that started as a 4-H project.
Kerns and his wife, Becky, own Kerns Farms as well as International Boar Semen at Eldora. Kerns Farms has 500 sows on six farms. The operation also includes a registered Angus herd.
The Kerns sell breeding stock and semen throughout the United States and internationally. They have agents in several East Asian countries, France and Mexico.
The couple has two sons, Karl, 13, and Matt, 11, who are getting involved in 4-H.
"It's interesting to watch their development and how they take on responsibility,'' Kerns said. "They get up and do the chores without even being told.''
Kerns majored in animal science at Iowa State University working with swine genetics legend Lauren Christian. In the early 1980s Kerns worked with a company that did consulting work in East Asia.
"That gave me the opportunity to see that part of the world and build relationships that led to sales for our seed stock and semen businesses,'' Kerns said.
Kerns' involvement with the Iowa Pork Producers Association started at the county level. Five years ago he was elected a district director. He has served on research, environment, food service, foreign market development and audit and finance committees. He has been vice president of producer services and resources, and last year became president-elect.
The Iowa pork industry has been working on many issues the past several years, Kerns said.
"Air and water quality issues, trying to work with DNR and the Legislature to come up with regulations that are fair and equitable and economical for our producers to implement,'' Kerns said. "Our producers are good stewards of the land and most have done a good job of siting buildings so that they don't cause problems.''
Kerns said he anticipates a Supreme Court decision on the checkoff within a few months.
"We will abide by that decision,'' he said. "We had a strong grass roots organization prior to the mandatory checkoff, and we'll have an organization that is viable afterward no matter what the decision.''
The Iowa Pork Producers Association will work on strategic planning in the next few months, looking at all its programs and deciding which ones to stayed involved with.