At the 2021 Iowa Pork Congress banquet, the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) introduced the 2020 class of Master Pork Producers and Master Pork Partners.
A Master Pork Producer award denotes an individual's or family's excellence in pork production, as measured by their pork production statistics, their commitment to We Care principles, and their contribution to their community. There are six We Care principles that outline a pig farmer's responsibilities to uphold high standards for animal well-being, food safety, the environment, as well as support of their local community.
IPPA's 79th class of Master Pork Producers includes six pig farmers. They are:
- Ryan Baragary of Masonville, Buchanan County
- Mike Bravard and Lucas Bravard of Jefferson, Greene County
- Mike and Tracy Marshall of Lewis, Cass County
- Shane Sylvester of Elkader, Clayton County
IPPA started the Master Pork Producer Award program in 1942 and has now named 1,496 Iowa pig farming businesses as Master Pork Producers.
IPPA created the Master Pork Partner Award in 2014 to recognize outstanding production partners who have made positive impacts in Iowa pork production, even though they don't have active daily roles at a specific production site.
The 2020 Master Pork Partners are:
- Aron Nieland of Newell, a senior production manager of logistics for The Maschhoffs
- Steven Nelson of Clear Lake, a trucker for Christensen Farms
The 2020 Honorary Master Pork Producer is Tom Miller of Winfield. Miller served as the Iowa State University Extension Swine Specialist in southeast Iowa for more than 20 years before retiring in May 2020. Pig farmers in the area saw Miller at a “go to” resource who provided ready advice and information.
All award winners are nominated by their peers and neighbors and represent the diversity of Iowa's pig farms. This production diversity helps maintain the strength of the industry and enables Iowa producers to compete successfully in the domestic and international commodity and niche markets.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa State University Extension co-sponsor the Master Pork Producer program to demonstrate the character and breadth of Iowa pork production.