In the short six months since he began working as an Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach swine program specialist, Matthew Swantek has become certified as a Pork Quality Assurance Plus® Advisor, worked with a variety of swine feed and production software programs, and experienced his first round of county fair swine shows. And that’s just for starters.
As the swine program specialist for west central and southwest Iowa, Swantek works with producers and others in the pork industry on swine nutrition programs, management practices and performance, and financial benchmarking. His varied experience and knowledge, combined with practicality and common sense, guide both his work and his vision for the future.
“I don’t like recreating the wheel, but want to make sure the wheel is round and not oval,” he said. “I enjoy working with those who are part of Iowa’s pork industry, from the youth to adults.”
Swantek said he’s building on his education (B.S. in animal production from University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and M.S. and Ph.D. focusing on swine nutrition and production from North Dakota State University) and past professional position responsibilities (ADM technical sales support, swine business activities, swine feeding program creation and swine software development) to offer educational opportunities for ISU Extension and Outreach clients throughout his area.
“The reason I was interested in this job was because this is Iowa,” he said. “I’ve been a ‘pig person’ all my life, so what better place to work and talk pigs, hogs and pork than the hog capital of the world?”
Swantek said his goals for the future include working with all members of the state’s swine industry to help Iowa maintain its position as the leader in supplying pork to the world.