The National Pork Board today honored Tom Baas as the recipient of its Distinguished Service Award during the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. Baas is a former animal science professor at Iowa State University.
At the pork industry’s annual business meeting each year, the award is presented to an outstanding leader to recognize his or her lifelong contribution to the pork industry.
“Tom has provided extraordinary leadership to the pork industry,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pork producer from Friend, Nebraska. “Through the years, he worked tirelessly for the advancement of the pork industry and mentored numerous students at Iowa State University.”
Baas grew up in Kossuth County, Iowa, graduating high school in West Bend. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science and later his master’s and Ph.D. all from Iowa State University. Baas worked in various aspects of the pork industry, including with the Duroc Swine Registry and on his own farm raising pigs, before he became a mainstay at Iowa State University as an animal science professor and advisor.
His practical experience prepared Baas for working with students and helped shape his approach to education. The real-world experience proved beneficial to those who learned from Baas, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Baas’ keen foresight for a brighter future for the pork industry played out in many pursuits. He believed a higher quality pork product was possible and was instrumental in implementing the use of ultrasound to study marbling in pork and live animals so data could be used in genetic improvement programs.