John Whitaker is serving his third term in the Iowa House and is an Assistant Majority Leader. He serves on the Administration & Rules, Natural Resources, Public Safety, Transportation, and Environmental Protection Committees.
Johns roots in Iowa run deep. His family moved here in 1836. John was born and raised near Hillsboro, Iowa. He is the son of William D. and Ruth Whitaker. Bill farmed for fifty-one years before retiring in 1998, and encouraged and taught his three sons to farm. All three began farming in the time from 1977 to 1982. Ruth was a school teacher.
John graduated from Harmony High School in 1974. In 1978, he earned a Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from Iowa State University. In 1979, he earned a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University. Currently, John divides his time between farming and serving in the Iowa Legislature. John served on the Van Buren County Board of Supervisors for ten years. Previously, he served as the president of the Iowa Farmers Union. John currently farms with his brother to produce Niman Ranch Pork. His son Daniel joined the operation in August 2007.
During his employment with the Iowa Farmers Union, John was instrumental in initiating a series of discussions among members about the possibility of starting a marketing cooperative for pork produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. This effort, began in 1997, encouraged more producers to join. John served on the Steering Committee of this project.
John and his wife, Lorrie J., live near Hillsboro. Lorrie is a teacher who works for Great Prairie AEA early access program with young children who have special needs. They have three children: Gabe, 26; Daniel, 24; and Becca, 19.
John has worked in the Iowa House to provide constructive, knowledgeable leadership on rural and agricultural issues. Out of a deep concern for our natural environment, he also insists that Iowa must greatly increase its efforts to produce new energy sources for the nation.
John’s commitment to his community is evident in his many honors, recognitions, and memberships. He received the Conservation Excellence Award from Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association in 1992, the Outstanding Young Leader Award from the Iowa Farmers Union in 1992, and was declared an Honorary Colonel in the Iowa State Militia by Governor Vilsack in January of 1999. Moreover, he co-chaired the Focus on the Future committee, which raised over $300,000 for Mid-American Baptist Churches to construct an adult camping center at Forest Lake. He has also been extremely active in the Hillsboro Baptist Church, assuming many leadership positions.
John’s other memberships include the Belmont Masonic Lodge in Hillsboro, the Keosauqua Rotary Club, Fairfield Shrine Club, and the agricultural working group of the Vision 2010 Board. From 1980-1985, he was Chair of the Van Buren County Democrats.