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Western Illinois University alumnus Robert "Bob" Frase has been elected president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA). Frase graduated from WIU in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture and is a resident of Fairbury (IL).
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WIU Alum Elected President of the IL Pork Producers Assn.

April 11, 2016


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MACOMB, IL — Western Illinois University alumnus Robert "Bob" Frase has been elected president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), according to the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB). Frase graduated from WIU in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture and is a resident of Fairbury (IL).

After graduating from Western, Frase began working for Lehmann Brothers Farm as a herdsman. He is now an equal partner (with two other families) in a 4,400-head, wean-to-finish farm that contracts with Lehmann Bros Farm, as well as a partner in Bluff Road Genetics LLC, a gilt multiplier farm.

Frase's involvement with the IPPA started in 2010. He is an at-large director on the board and currently serves on the executive, the industry services, production technology and state fair committees. Frase will serve as IPPA president for one year, and he will remain on the executive committee until his term on the board of directors expires.

"Being involved with the IPPA allows me to give back in some small way to an agricultural industry that has been good to me over the years. It forces me to get out of my comfort zone, which I believe is important for personal growth," Frase explained. "IPPA serves as a vehicle to oversee and spend pork check-off funds used for promotion, research and education. All pork producers in the state contribute to this fund when hogs are marketed, so it is important IPPA spends this money wisely and for the benefit of all producers in the state," he added.

Frase also noted the IPPA also uses non-check off money to help and encourage producers to be engaged with their state and federal legislators, to reach out to them and to tell their stories about the importance of pork farming in the state's agriculture industry and for Illinois' overall economy. He added that IPPA is also a partner in Pork Power, a multi-group effort to supply the eight Illinois Food Banks with ground pork for their clients.

According to Frase, his time at Western was integral to his personal and professional growth, particularly because he came did not come from an agricultural background.

"I wanted to be involved in agriculture, but I came from a non-farm background, so I felt I was at a disadvantage. I needed an education that gave me an agricultural focus, as well as the other areas of study that relate to the agricultural industry. I found that mix at Western. It is important to note I was not the only student in the agriculture department who did not come from a farming background," Frase said. "Western's size made me feel comfortable, and the course of study gave me the experience and education I needed to be involved in Illinois agriculture. Honestly, serving a leadership role was not part of my aspirations when I was Western; I simply wanted to earn a living in something I enjoyed and still do to this day. Having the ability and confidence to lead came later in life, for which I am grateful."

WIU School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker noted Frase's career illustrates his hard work and dedication to the pork industry.

"We truly appreciate our alumni stepping up and securing leadership roles in commodity associations to volunteer their time and expertise," noted WIU School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker. "I am confident Bob will do a great job for the Illinois Pork Producers Association as president."

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (WIUNews@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations