At the Illinois Pork Expo each year, a dedicated pork producing family is award with the title of “Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year.”
The Bradshaw Family from Griggsville, Ill., is this year’s recipient. Philip and his wife, Linda, are the proud owners of Bradshaw Farms. Philip and son, Todd, currently farm 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans and operate a 5,000-head wean-to-finish hog farm.
The Bradshaw Family history in Pike County goes back over 127 years. In 1889, Philip’s grandfather arrived in Griggsville after walking from Greenville, Ky., in search of work cutting trees and hewing railroad ties. As the demand for railroad ties increased, his grandfather had the gumption to establish a saw mill and was able to produce enough railroad ties to start a successful farm in Pike County.
Philip’s interest in the pork industry became a career when he started farming fulltime in 1963 and raising hogs. He was later encouraged to get more involved in the organizational side of the industry and became the first president of the Pike County Pork Producers in 1968. Pike County Pork Producers is also credited with spearheading the first Pork Day at the St. Louis Cardinal’s Busch Stadium presenting then ball club manager, Red Schoendienst, with a live pig.
During these early years, Philip worked tirelessly on the “Nickels for Profit” campaign where farmers sold a market pig and contributed one nickel to the national organization. His challenging work and dedication to this effort led to the current Checkoff program that thrives today. In 1971, Philip was elected to serve as the Illinois Pork Producers Association president and served until 1974.
During his tenure as IPPA president, Philip helped create several noteworthy promotional campaigns with the St. Louis Cardinals and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by helping create the Fighting Illini Pork Club.
In addition to Philip’s leadership in the pork industry, he has held a variety of roles at the state level in other agriculture organizations. These included chairman of the Illinois Soybean Checkoff Board, chairman of the Illinois FFA Sponsoring Committee and he was also an integral part of the successful lobbying efforts for the creation of the University of Illinois Meats Lab.
Nationally, Philip served as the chairman of the National Pseudorabies Committee, chairman of the Livestock Conservation Institute, now known as the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, president of the U.S. Animal Health Association, director on the U.S. Meat Export Federation Board, chairman of the United Soybean Board and vice president of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Bradshaw also chaired the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases.
Bradshaw has received several awards throughout his career including, the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award in 1999 from the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA/APHIS Animal Health Service Award, a Honorary State FFA Degree, Alumni Achievement Award from the Western Illinois University Alumni Association, Pike County Pork Producer Distinguished Service Award, Illinois Farm Bureau Charles B. Shuman Distinguished Service Award and the Special Meritorious Award from the American Soybean Association.
Like many good pork producing families, the Bradshaw Family has always been active in promoting pork and the pork industry. Bradshaw Farms has participated in several community-led programs over the years including, Pike County Pig Days and the Pike County Golden Boars program, where producers cooked and promoted pork across the Midwest. The family has also hosted multiple farm visits sharing their love and passion for this industry.
In addition to Todd, Philip and Linda also have two daughters, Cindy and Lisa, as well as seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren with the fourth due in August.
Philip and Linda are active in the local Rotary club with Philip previously serving as president. Philip also serves as the president of the New Philadelphia Association, the first African American town surveyed and plotted by a free slave. Philip and Linda attend the Detroit Christian Church.
Over the years, the Bradshaw Family has strived to adapt to changes and grow their business, while being good stewards of the land, caring for their animals and being active members of their community.
Meg Meeker named 2017 Illinois Pork Ambassador
Meg Meeker, the daughter of Bob and Diane Meeker, from Emden, Ill., has been named the 2018 Illinois Pork Ambassador during the Illinois Pork Expo Feb. 6-7 in Springfield.
Ambassador duties will be as an intern in the Illinois Pork Producers Association office this summer, upon graduation in May. Main duties will include presenting to teachers at Summer Ag Institutes; assisting with Illinois Pork Leadership Institute, youth activities and grilling events; and coordinating the Birthing Center at the Illinois State Fair.
Meeker grew up on her family’s farm where they raise corn, soybeans and purebred Duroc and Hampshire show pigs. She participated in activities with the Hartem Clovers 4-H Club for 11 years and was a Logan County 4-H ambassador. She was also an active member in the Hartsburg-Emden FFA chapter.
Her passion for the swine industry runs deep. She earned her American FFA Degree by keeping records on her swine production project and enjoys speaking on popular swine industry topics at FFA, National Junior Swine Association and National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization communication events.
She is currently a senior studying Agricultural Leadership and Science Education with a concentration in science at the University of Illinois. There she has been active in the Agricultural Education Club, Collegiate FFA, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Orange Krush, Sigma Alpha Agricultural sorority, Ag in the Classroom, and served as the Hoof ‘N Horn Club Pig Show Chair. Meeker also loves volunteering with her church and representing her county as the Miss Logan County Fair Queen.
Upon graduation in May, she will be enrolling in graduate school to obtain a master’s in Agricultural Education. Meeker hopes to provide people with educational opportunities within the livestock and agricultural industries.
“We are really looking forward to having Meg as part of ‘Team Pork’ this summer,” says Jenny Jackson, IPPA director of communications, emphasizing that “this internship will give Meg the experience and tools she needs to pursue a further degree in agriculture education. She also brings experience from the show pig side of the industry to our table. She is a great match.”
Source: Illinois Pork Producers Association