Don Buhl, a Tyler, Minn., pork producer, has been a leader in state and national pork organizations over the past three decades, helping to develop programs for people new to the industry and to expand U.S. pork exports.
He began farming in 1976 and has grown operations significantly since then. He was a founding member of the “Pipestone System,” a production model aimed at allowing independent family farms to remain competitive through shared ownership and increased efficiencies.
On May 26, he was among three to be awarded Siehl Prize 2016 Laureates, an annual prize that honors those who have made extraordinary contributions toward producing food and ending hunger. The award is named in honor of Minnesota businessman and philanthropist Eldon Siehl, and laureates are chosen in up to three categories: production, agribusiness and knowledge. Buhl was named for production agriculture.
Each laureate receives a monetary award of $50,000 and a granite and glass sculpture. The prize is awarded annually by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.
Also being named 2016 Siehl Prize Laureates are Marla Spivak (knowledge) and Mark Davis (agribusiness).
Spivak’s tireless advocacy for bees and what they do for the world’s food supply has made her a well-known speaker, but at its core her work is about understanding how bees behave, breeding new lines of disease resistant bees and finding the causes behind Colony Collapse Disorder and other threats to bees. She’s been a University of Minnesota faculty member since 1992, and thanks to her leadership a new bee and pollinator research center will open on the University’s St. Paul campus later this year.
Davis is the former chairman and CEO of Davisco Foods International. He started as a milk truck driver for his family’s creamery and eventually led the company’s expansion into a multinational agribusiness. Davisco is known for its innovations in the dairy industry, including new products and markets as well as a state-of-the-art dairy educational partnership with the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine at its farms near New Sweden, Minn.