REDFIELD, Iowa – Collette Kaster was named executive director of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO) effective in April. She succeeds Mike Simpson who is retiring after 11 years with PAACO.

Kaster most recently held the position of senior vice president of quality technical services and hog procurement for Smithfield Foods. She has been involved with PAACO as a trainer and has supported a number of shadow audits.

Collette Kaster, PAACO
Collette Kaster, executive director of PAACO

“I am looking forward to leading this organization and to helping shape the animal care and welfare initiatives for all species of livestock,” Kaster said in a statement. “The care of food animals has never been more scrutinized and PAACO serves a key role in the certification of audits and auditors to fill that need.”

Kaster has a track record of participation and leadership on important issues facing the industry. She served on animal welfare committees of the North American Meat Institute and the National Pork Board in addition to serving on NPB’s Food Safety and Pork Quality committees. She also led the NAMI Inspection Committee. She is a past president of the American Meat Science Association and an AMSA Fellow.

“PAACO has seen great success under Mike Simpson’s direction and we are looking forward to expanding PAACO’s training portfolio under Collette’s leadership,” Jennifer Walker, DVM, Ph.D. and chair of PAACO.  “Collette brings to the table a depth and breadth of knowledge, experience and talent that will ensure that PAACO remains the leader in animal welfare audit certification and training.  Without question, she has the skill set to take PAACO to the next level and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Kaster earned a bachelor’s in Animal Science from South Dakota State Univ. and a master’s from the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.