The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has selected a Buchanan Co. farmer and pork producer as its Pork All-American for 2012.

Sean Dolan of Masonville received the award last night at the 41st annual Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines.

Dolan owns and operates Newton Pork, a 600-sow breed-to-wean farm. He finishes about 3,000-head of production each year and sells the rest to his brother and father to finish.

One of the prerequisites to becoming Pork All-American is being named a Master Pork Producer by IPPA and Dolan joined those ranks in 2007. At the time, he had converted a traditional stall gestation barn to a unique configuration that utilizes an open pen, electronic feeding, "trickle system" from breeding to farrowing.

Two large pens of sows with separate water courts are major features of this configuration. During passage from the water court to the pens, electronic ID tags enable each sow to be sorted by activity list into the alleyway or marked with one of two paint colors. The system has undergone some minor modifications since its inception, but is still in use. Sean has moved from batch farrowing to weekly farrowing to meet production goals.

Dolan introduces replacement stock as weaned pigs into an on-site isolation unit. After passing isolation testing, they are grown in a continuous flow unit attached to the breed-to-wean facility for acclimatization.

Always someone to be receptive to new production ideas, Sean and a neighbor producer recently began to commingle weaned pigs. Both have similar health status, genetics and complementary farrowing schedules. This commingling enables each to fill their wean-to-finish buildings more rapidly with like-aged pigs. At this point, this production relationship is working well.

Sean and are neighbors also are cooperating in a Buchanan-Delaware PRRS control program. Sean has completed the pork industry's Pork Quality Assurance® Plus certification and PQA Plus site assessments for his operation. He farms 260 acres of corn and 80 acres of soybeans.

Sean and his wife, Sara, have two grade school-aged children. Both are very active in their community and church. Sean has served on the parish finance council and is a volunteer coach for the East Buchanan Mat Club, which introduces young children to wrestling. He has been active in county, state and national pork producer organizations. He has been president of the Buchanan County Pork Producers and has served on the IPPA Board of Directors, the IPPA Executive Committee and the IPPA New Products and Producer Education committees. Nationally, Dolan has been a Pork Act Delegate, member of the National Pork Board Swine Health Committee and the National Pork Producers Council Animal Welfare and Food Safety Committee.

The IPPA Pork All-American award was established in 1970 to honor young producers who have established themselves as community leaders and successful and dedicated businesspersons. It's the highest honor an individual pork producer can receive from IPPA. The recipient must be a Master Pork Producer and under the age of 40.