Smeby named Iowa Pork Producers Association producer outreach director

Van Gilst has transitioned into the role of strategic information director for IPPA.

June 13, 2024

3 Min Read

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Brielle Smeby as its new producer outreach director. Smeby, a 2023 graduate of Iowa State University with a major in animal science, brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for the agriculture industry to her new role. She spent the past year as IPPA’s program and events manager.

Having grown up on her parents' nursery-to-finish farm in Klemme, Iowa, Smeby has been actively involved in various aspects of pork production, including showing pigs and working on her family’s operation. Smeby’s upbringing instilled in her a strong desire to contribute to the agricultural community.

“I want to use this position to bring more producers into the association,” Smeby said. “It would be great to have more producers connect with IPPA and utilize the resources we have. The association is here for any questions they have about their farm or industry issues. Reach out to us. We are here to support you and help you.”

As the producer outreach director, she oversees membership and county association relationships for IPPA, and works with the Iowa Pork Alliance. Smeby also coordinates the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy, the Master Pork Awards program, and IPPA’s tradeshow presence at the World Pork Expo and Iowa Pork Congress.

While attending Iowa State University, Smeby interned with IPPA during the summer of 2021. That experience was eye opening for her and showed her many ways to get involved in the industry.

“It was fun to see the different roles of the staff here at Iowa Pork,” Smeby said. “After that internship, I grew to appreciate all the work the association does for producers, so it allowed me to realize working in the pork industry didn’t necessarily mean you had to be in the barn yourself.”

“Brielle has been an important part of our team at IPPA, and she will transition very well into this new role,” said IPPA CEO Pat McGonegle. “Her background fuels her dedication to the pork industry and she is devoted to supporting county organizations and their members.”

Cory Van Gilst, the previous producer outreach director, has transitioned into the role of strategic information director for IPPA. Van Gilst will be instrumental in integrating a new membership system and assisting with various organizational functions.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time as the producer outreach director and am looking forward to serving our members in a new role at IPPA,” said Van Gilst. “I am very thankful for all the producers that I’ve met over the past three years. I could not work for a better group of people.”

Van Gilst grew up on a family farm that included a farrow-to-finish operation near Oskaloosa. He graduated from Dordt University in Sioux Center, with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing. Van Gilst joined the IPPA staff in 2021, following three years with the National Pork Board.

“Cory is taking on an important new role in our organization, and I’m pleased that he’s tackling these new responsibilities,” said McGonegle. “Cory has been an integral part of our team for the past three years and his drive and passion for the pork industry will serve us well as strategic information director.”

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