The National Pork Board has announced the four finalists who are vying to become 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and is committed to sharing his or her farming story with the American public.
“The four finalists represent the diversity of the pork industry in the United States,” said National Pork Board President Jan Archer, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “They exemplify the best in pig farming and in taking the lead on environmental sustainability, animal welfare and continuous improvement.
The 2016 finalists are:
♦ Craig Andersen – Centerville, S.D.
♦ Jarrod Bakker – Dike, Iowa
♦ Brad Greenway – Mitchell, S.D.
♦ Maria Mauer – Greensburg, Ind.
The four finalists are meeting today with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.
From Sept. 1 through Sept. 10, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at www.americaspigfarmer.com. The winner will be announced Oct. 11.
About the Finalists
Farming is a family tradition for Craig Andersen, who grew up and now lives on his family’s Century Farm. Craig, along with his wife, Gail, and children, Tyler, Jacob and Emily, raise pigs in modern barns and market 6,000 pigs annually. Andersen Farm also raises corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and cattle.
Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Jarrod Bakker, who grew up on a farrow-to-finish pig farm. Bakker, along with his brother, Jordan, and wife, Shari, own Bakker Bros. Genetics. The 50-sow farm markets 1,000 pigs annually. Bakker also works for Fast Genetics, where he sells breeding stock to farmers across the country.
Focusing on doing what’s right has been Brad Greenway’s goal in raising pigs for the past 40 years on his family farm. Greenway and his wife Peggy own two 2,400-head, modern wean-to-finish pig barns. They also have a cow-calf operation and raise corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. The Greenways are also part owners in a 4,000-head sow farm where they source their pigs.
Providing sows with a clean, comfortable environment is step No. 1 for Maria Mauer at Smiley Brothers Inc. Marketing 18,000 pigs per year, Smiley Brothers is a farrow-to-finish operation. Mauer also believes in the importance in teaching her 5-year old son life lessons by bringing him to the barn with her to care for the sows.
About the expert judging panel
Members of the five-member panel are Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Justin Ransom, senior director, supply chain management at McDonald’s USA; Jodi Sterle, an associate professor of animal science at Iowa State University; and Keith Schoettmer, the 2015 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.
About the contest
The National Pork Board created the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year program to recognize the best in pig farming. This honor will be awarded annually to the pig farmer who demonstrates and lives by the We Care ethical principles.