Retired, but still serving pork industry
By KRISS NELSON
SPENCER – Greg Lear has served the pork industry in many different ways, from raising pigs to serving as president of the Iowa Pork Board.
Lear also serves others in the pork industry.
As a partner of Spencer Ag Center, in Spencer, Lear is a field marketer where he brings his experience to his customers helping with site management, sales and training.
Before serving as president of the Iowa Pork Board, Lear began in 2004 as an associate board member; then from 2005-2010 served as the northwest Iowa district representative, eventually working his way onto Iowa Pork’s executive board and then served as president in 2013.
It was his experience as a pork producer and working with other producer, he said, qualified him as president and made him a successful one as well.
“The interaction of working with producers on a daily basis, both big and small, and hearing their issues made me a better president,” said Lear.
Lear served on an animal health committee as well as a youth committee for Iowa Pork.
Working with youth is something Lear said he enjoys doing and has done that at the state and county levels.
In addition to serving on the youth committee for Iowa Pork, which he said helps to educate children about the pork industry, he has been an integral part of Iowa Swine Jackpot show in Spencer; the Summer Prospect Spectacular and helping with the Friends of Clay County Youth Swine project.
“I like helping kids,” said Lear. “They are the next generation of advocates and consumers.
“We need them to help defend the industry as advocates.”
The Friends of Clay County Youth Swine project, Lear said, gives youths an economical way to be a part of the county’s fair pork project.
“For a $20 down payment, it gives kids that don’t have the opportunity to be involved with pigs a chance to show,” he said. “They learn to chore, pitch manure, and are at the weigh-ins.
“It’s all hands on and a big learning experience.”
Lear said this project is funded by the Clay County Pork Producers and Farmers Bank is also a supporter. Funds come back in to the project after the auction as well.
Lear serves on the 4-H swine committee and is present in the hog barn to lend a hand or advice whenever it is needed.
“I am always willing and enjoy helping the kids, not only physically, but for emotional help as well,” said Lear, adding he’s there to help a 4-H’er by giving advice or just by listening.
“I hope to leave a positive impact on a kid’s life,” he said. “It doesn’t feel any better inside than that and I hope those kids will pass that forward.”
On a personal level, Lear said he has enjoyed being alongside his son, Zach Lear, showing pigs for several years, with 2015 being his last.
Although he said he is certain his wife, Ann, is more than ready to have the hustle and bustle of showing pigs be over, he said he will definitely miss it and they, along with their other children, Lindsey and Tyler, have come to know a lot of people because of it.
“We have met more good people through showing pigs,” said Lear. “They are great people.”
Lear said it’s important to know that pork is the number one protein choice in the world.
“There is something to please everyone,” he said. “It is a cost-effective protein.
“You can find what you want to fit any budget.
“We also have the safest food supply in the world and pork is a huge part of that.
“We are known worldwide for providing the safest, nutritious product.”
Lear said pork raised in Iowa and the United States is safe due to producers being Pork Quality Assurance and Transport Quality Assurance certified.
“We also have practices in place to make sure there is humane handling and antibiotic withdrawal times are properly adhered to,” said Lear.
Lear is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in animal science and has more than 25 years’ experience in hog buying, livestock breeding and work on a research farm.
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