Iowa Pork Producers Association honors top pork promoters in the state
The women and men involved in Iowa’s pork industry are both enthusiastic and dedicated to the work they do to promote hog and pork production in the state, as well as to lead organizations in their counties. That’s why the Iowa Pork Producers Association annually recognizes these local leaders. State nominees and winners were announced at the Iowa Pork Congress the last week of January.
Belle Ringer Award Winners
Six women from across Iowa have been nominated for the Belle Ringer State Award. Each of the nominees was recognized at the state meeting for the Belle Ringer roles they play in their county’s pork producer organizations. These county winners are:
- Buchanan – Shelby Hawkins, Independence, is very focused on educational activities, including a Pen Pals program that reaches 480 students and writing newsletters for a six-part “Flat Aggie” series. For adults, Hawkins creates social media posts for the Pork FarmChat, which is a live, virtual excursion into a pigsty. In total, it reaches 7,000 people thanks to its promotion of pig farming.
- buena vista –Michelle Ehlers, Marathon, has been dubbed “the glue that holds everything together and keeps everyone moving in the right direction” by Buena Vista County pork producers. Ehlers played a pivotal role in the group’s holiday and Easter pork promotions.
- Clayton – Kristin Oberbroeckling, Garnavillo, is credited with leading and directing the effort to raise funds and build a pig and sheep barn at the county fairgrounds. It also promotes pork through a cooking competition at the fair and ham and food donations.
- Delaware – Mary Clemen, Manchester, may never have been a pork producer, but she’s been an active griller representing Delaware County pork producers for over 30 years at local events, league football games ‘Iowa Hawkeye and the Iowa State Fair. The group says “she literally grilled tons of pork”.
- Jones – Abby Inglis, Wyoming, coordinates Porker Rides across the county so community members can learn about pork production. She also works to improve pig shows in the area and works at pork grills.
- Lyons – Jessie Eben, Little Rock, worked hard on updating the stand at the Salon des Producteurs de Porcs du Département de Lyon. Eben brings his knowledge of the farm to make the stand interactive. She also coordinates county scholarships for the group.
Hawkins and Oberbroeckling were selected as co-winners of the State Belle Ringer Award presented by the IPPA.
Hog Wild Award Winners
Four men from across Iowa have been nominated for the Hog Wild award. Each of the nominees was recognized for their Hog Wild designation for the key roles they play in their county’s pork producer organizations. These county winners are:
- buena vista – Mike Ehlers, Marathon, is aptly described by the Buena Vista Pork Producers as “really passionate about the pork industry”. As County Chairman, he led efforts to develop strong associate member relationships and build a strong local organization.
- Delaware – Tony Ries, Ryan, is an active hog farmer who has put in countless hours as a hog superintendent at the county fair, as well as a hog project manager. But it goes beyond working with young people interested in pork; he also takes pigs to schools so that all students can learn about pigs and their role in everyday Iowa life.
- Jones – Travis Hansen, Wyoming, supports all Jones County Pork Farmers events, including the Porker Ride, RAGBRAI activities and grills. County noted that he “communicates well within the group so that all the producers learn from each other.”
- Lyons – Bob Bickerstaff of Rock Rapids has always gone above and beyond a volunteer’s expectations in his efforts to promote pork at grilling events. As a former restaurateur, Lyon County Pork Producers say he demonstrates the importance of communication, publicity and hard work at all levels of the farm-to-fork supply chain. .
Ries was named the national winner of the Hog Wild Award presented by the IPPA.
The county organizations that nominated the state winners will each receive $250; county organizations nominating others each receive $100.
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