The South Dakota Pork Producers Council will be recognizing several state swine industry leaders this week during the South Dakota Pork Congress. The awards will be presented to the following individuals and families during the South Dakota Master Pork Producers Banquet Wednesday in Sioux Falls.
Family of the Year Award
The Paul Brandt family of Clear Lake will be honored with the 2019 Family of the Year Award, an award created to honor a pork-producing family who has contributed to the long-term success of the industry through leadership and pork promotion on the local, state and/or national level.
Paul and his wife, Lisa, live on a fifth-generation family farm, where Paul, and his twin brother Joel, operate Brandt Farms Inc., a diversified custom hog feeding operation, a cow-calf and feeder cattle operation, a diversified crop operation and a seed sales business. Paul, a shareholder in Supreme Pork Inc., which includes a 3,300-head sow farm, with custom nurseries and finishers, receives pigs from this company into his custom hog feeding business. Paul is also a shareholder in Supreme Welding Inc., a custom welding business in Clear Lake. Paul is a South Dakota State University graduate with a degree in agronomy.
He currently serves on the Deuel County Zoning Board, the United Methodist Church Council and the Deuel County Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. He was president of the SDPPC and currently sits on the Production and Profitability Committee and the Public Policy Committee. He was involved in Operation Main Street, was 2006 Master Pork Producer, and was a Pork Act delegate or a National Pork Producers Council delegate to the National Pork Forum for many years.
Lisa has been an educator for more than 29 years. She is currently a third-grade teacher in Castlewood. She is the leader of the Dakota Clovers 4-H club and enjoys planning and hosting project days. Lisa also judges at achievement days and fashion reviews at local and state levels.
Caitlyn, a graduate from SDSU with a degree in agriculture business and agriculture leadership, is starting her fifth year with the American Angus Association in St. Joseph, Mo. She is an event coordinator and plans and executes cattle shows around the country and develops leadership programs for the National Junior Angus members.
Jacob graduated from SDSU with a degree in animal science and is now full-time on the farm. He manages the 2,400-head finisher barn. He is also involved with the many other duties needed on a diversified farm as well as helping with Supreme Pork duties.
Both Caitlyn and Jacob have been past Pork Ambassadors for the SDPPC.
Tanner completed his degree from SDSU in agricultural science this fall and is returning to the farm. Tanner assists with sorting and loading of hogs in all the finishers. He has a talent for fixing equipment in the shop and likes both the livestock and crop side of the operation.
Dylan is a senior at Deuel High School this year. He is involved in football, basketball, track and band. After graduation, he will be attending SDSU to pursue a degree in an agricultural-related field. Dylan helps with the barn chores, sorting and loading, and helps with the cows and calving, haying and harvest.
Paul and Lisa attribute the success of their operation to the help provided by their family and their three full-time, long-term employees, and the long-term committed employees of Supreme Pork. Paul's dream is to one day involve all the kids in the farming operation in some manner.
Friend of the Industry Award
The SDPPC will recognize Jeri Westra with the Friend of the Industry Award. The award recognizes state individuals, leaders or businesses for their continued support of the pork industry.
Westra was raised on a diversified livestock and grain farm northeast of Centerville. The Westra family has always focused on raising and feeding livestock. He bought his first hogs at Centerville Livestock in 1970 which was the beginning of his love for the swine industry. A graduate of SDSU, he earned a bachelor's degree in animal science in 1976. Following college, his career began with positions at IBP, Clougherty Packing, Sioux Falls Stockyards and finally, John Morrell. He remained with the company in various positions for the past 35 years, most recently as head of hog procurement for Smithfield Foods. In 2017, Westra was recognized as a South Dakota Honorary Master Pork Producer.
During his career in the swine industry, Westra has been involved in the SDPPC, along with supporting Lincoln County 4-H and FFA, the SDSU Pork Classic, and the donation of pork for the South Dakota State Fair. He has also held positions on the local elevator board, Center of Hope and at Delaware Reformed Church.
Pork All-American Award
Craig Andersen from Centerville will be honored by the SDPPC with the 2019 Pork All-American Award. The award acknowledges pork producers or industry members who have established themselves as dedicated, involved business leaders in their communities.
Craig and Gail Andersen have a diversified farm consisting of row crops, feeder pigs and cattle. They finish pigs for Brentwood Colony. The couple has three children and one grandchild. Gail is currently working at the Centerville School with the title program and breakfast program. Tyler works on the family farm and has a finishing barn, row crops and cattle. Jacob also works on the family farm, sells Pioneer Seed, has row crops and cattle. Jacob's wife, Heather, is a nurse for Sanford and their son, Henrick, is 11 months old. Emily, a graduate from SDSU with a degree in animal science and agricultural science and a minor in agricultural business, is currently working at Smithfield as the livestock coordinator.
Craig has helped with the fourth-grade program in Sioux Falls, Hot Harley Nights, many grocery store promotions and the Taste of Elegance in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Craig has been active in the SDPPC for six years and is the newly-elected incoming president. He also serves on the Public Policy, Demand Enhancement, Budget and Finance and Annual Meeting and Trade Show Committees. He is also active with NPPC. He is currently serving on its Executive Board, Environmental Committee, Budget Committee and Chair of the SIP Committee. Craig has gone to many planning and zoning meetings about pig farming and went to Washington, D.C., on behalf of South Dakota pig farmers to lobby for issues relating to farmers. He is also the chairman of the Delaware Township board.
Pork Promoter of the Year Award
Garrett and Mindy Gross of Sioux Falls will be honored with the 2019 Pork Promoter of the Year Award. The award was designed to recognize an individual or family, organization, company or county group who has done an outstanding job promoting pork and/or the pork industry on a local, state or regional level.
Garrett and Mindy are the founders of AGE Media which is a multi-media production company based in Sioux Falls. They specialize in telling the stories of people, families, businesses and organizations. They produce the Farming Families publications which tell the stories of the people and families who farm in several counties in southeast South Dakota and northwest Iowa. For the past three years, Garrett and Mindy have featured over 120 farm families in the region and many have been pork producers. The couple is also co-founder of PorkPalooza which is a community festival held in Sioux Falls where the goal is to promote local music, local barbecue, local beer and local pork producers. The first two years of the event have been a success with over 20,000 attendees and $12,000 given to Feeding South Dakota on behalf of the event.
Dedicated and Distinguished Service Award
The SDPPC will honor Steve Rommereim, with the Dedicated and Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual who provides outstanding and dedicated service to South Dakota's pork industry.
Steve and his wife, Charlotte, farm near Alcester. They have two daughters. Steve is the owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine, which markets 12,000 pigs annually. Steve and his family are also part owners in SDI Pork LLC, which finishes 120,000 hogs annually.
Steve was elected to the National Pork Board in 2014 representing South Dakota on a national level. During his tenure on the board he has served in each officer role, as president in 2018 and on numerous committees, including the 2020 Strategic Planning Task Force.
He is past president of the South Dakota Pork Producers Association, Ag United for South Dakota and currently serves on the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. Steve was also recently elected to the executive committee for the U.S. Animal Health Association.