The 50th Anniversary of the Minnesota Pork Congress kicked off with a night of recognition and elegance.
The Minnesota Pork Board handed out a number of awards during its awards reception at the Minneapolis Hilton.
Jared Anez, of Anez Consulting, epitomizes the success that farmers can experience when you surround yourself with talented, passionate partners who understand environmental stewardship and the needs of farmers.
Anez and his wife, Kami, created Anez Consulting in 1997 with the desire to create opportunity for their growing family, with the goal of helping farm families experience success in their business and family.
Today, Anez Consulting prides itself in being a comprehensive resource for farmers assisting in crop consulting, precision agriculture, conservation programs, engineering, feedlot permitting and manure management. That dedication is what earned Jared Anez and his company the Environmental Steward of the Year.
Family is important almost all pork producing families, and the Comparts from Nicollet, Minn., are no different. Dean and Kaye Compart, Jim and Diana Compart, Chris and Rochelle Compart along with their parents Bonnie and the late Richard Compart, have built a business that creates opportunity for family farmers to remain independent and raise high-quality pork for restaurants, retailers and individuals across the United States.
That commitment to family, to their fellow producers and the end pork product earned the Comparts Family of the Year honors.
Getting consumers to buy in to eating pork doesn’t happen overnight, it has to become a passion, a lifestyle, and that is what Terry Wolters believes and lives as he promotes pork, earning him Pork Promoter of the year honors. Wolters has been with the Pipestone System for 19 years, currently a member of the Big Stone Marketing team.
“It’s not about me,” he says. “It’s about moving our industry as a whole forward and I am humbled by the opportunity to work alongside talented men and women doing something that I love every day.”
Working along his barn staff every day, and leading them to better themselves and ultimately better hogs has earned Rick Benson, with Hugoson Pork in Martin County the Swine Manager of the Year Award.
In 1991, Benson became the manager of WelCam, a gilt multiplier that later transitioned to a conventional sow farm in the mid-’90s. Benson remains the manager of WelCam today, which is owned solely by Hugoson Pork.
Benson is proud of his accomplishments as a manger but more proud of the accomplishments of his entire team. “Being a manager means thinking sensibly and always doing the right thing for animals and our team,” he says. “It is my job to make sure they are appreciated, engaged and they have everything they need to be successful. If they are not successful, I am not successful.”
For the past two decades, Craig Mensink has been giving back to his fellow pork producers starting at the local level, leading him to state and national roles. After several years of service on state and national committees and the state board of directors, Mensink was elected to the National Pork Board where he served from 2012-15. “I was always more drawn to checkoff programming,” says Mensink. “My service afforded me the opportunity to meet pig farmers from across the nation, work with talented and passionate staff and gain a better appreciation for the complexities of our business and the administration of a checkoff program.”
For that commitment, Mensink, of Preston, Minn., was honored with Minnesota Pork’s Distinguished Service award.
Taste of Elegance
Later in the evening, chefs from the Twin Cities area showed off their skills in a culinary competition showcasing the versatility of pork and the chefs’ creativity.
Charles Plaetz, executive chef at the Minneapolis Golf Club took home the grand prize with his dish, Root Beer Belly. He earned $1,500 and the opportunity to represent the Minnesota Pork Board at the 2017 National Pork Summit in California.