Alumni Spotlight: Bob Kimm

bob kimmThere is no doubt that Bob Kimm has made a mark on Iowa animal agriculture and a countless number of students who have passed through his classroom. Bob started working at Hawkeye Community College in 1969 and retired in 2000. He taught all classes related to ruminant animals, including beef and sheep production, animal health, livestock merchandising, meats, and livestock selection. His dedication to the students and the Animal Science program at Hawkeye Community College will certainly leave an impact for years to come.

Growing up on a diversified livestock farm near Victor, Iowa, Bob knew he wanted to be involved in agriculture and the livestock industry. Through activities like 4-H and FFA, he garnered his passion. Bob transferred to Iowa State as a sophomore from Iowa Wesleyan College, majoring in Animal Science/Industry Option.

Bob certainly got involved while at Iowa State. He competed on the wool judging team, livestock judging team, and meat animal evaluation team in his three years as an undergrad. “Those teams were really the highlight of my undergraduate degree. They helped build my confidence, people skills and gave me a blueprint for my career path.” Bob participated in many of the Animal Science Department's activities such as the Iowa State Horse Show and Little International, which he co-chaired his senior year.

After graduating from Iowa State in 1965, Bob worked for Ralston Purina as a feed salesman. However, between his Junior and Senior year at Iowa State, Bob had the opportunity to take the Animal Science/Agronomy Department’s Ag Travel Seminar to Europe. It was through new friends Bob made during this trip that connected him with agriculture education majors and would later give him the initiative to return to Iowa State for his master’s degree in Agricultural Education.

After obtaining his M.S. degree Bob secured a position as an instructor in the Animal Science Department at Hawkeye Community College. “Iowa State gave me a tremendous blueprint for what I wanted to do with the students at Hawkeye. The extracurricular activities set me on a different path than most teachers. I wanted to make those hands-on activities available to students.”

At Hawkeye, Bob started the livestock judging team, put together the sheep and beef herds, he initiated various beef and sheep sales plus shows for the students to manage, including the Iowa 4-H Sheep Performance Classic. He developed the Beef Extravaganza scholarship program, which is still carried out by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association in Ames. Bob also implemented the idea of having a “Hall of Breeds” at the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo. This idea sparked the start of the famous Avenue of Breeds at the Iowa State Fair. Field trips were also a major part of how Bob allowed students the opportunity to experience successful livestock producer’s operations.

“I tried to balance my family with the extra activities at the college, and it wasn’t easy. I knew what being involved with activities outside the classroom had meant for my education, and I wanted to offer those same character-building traits to the students at Hawkeye,” said Kimm.judging team

Along with his teaching, Bob has been raising registered Suffolk sheep for 55 years and recently added registered Katahdins to his operation. He had his first production sale in 1987 and continues that today. Along with his sheep business, Bob has served on numerous boards and committees over the past fifty years. He has had the opportunity to judge most of the major market lamb shows in the United States, plus sheep shows in Mexico and Brazil and continues to be an advocate for agriculture and youth.

When asked if he had any advice for current students, Bob responded, “Keep a positive, open mind and stay updated in your chosen field. It will probably not be what you know that opens doors, but rather, it will be a combination of your people skills and work ethic.”