America's Pig Farmer of the Year award program, announced by the National Pork Board in early March, is accepting applications from now until May 17 at americaspigfarmer.com. The award honors the U.S. pork producer who best excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and wants to share how he or she does that with the public.
"This new award brings to life the National Pork Board's new strategic plan by building consumer trust through on-farm transparency and accountability," said Brad Greenway, National Pork Board vice president and pig farmer from Mitchell, S.D. "The ideal candidate will have a focus on environmental sustainability, as well as animal welfare, production efficiency, the adoption of best practices and a commitment to continuous improvement."
"The intent of this new recognition program is two-fold," said Mike King, director of science communications for the Pork Checkoff. "The contest is designed to find the producer who best demonstrates the We Care principles on the farm. Additionally, the ideal candidate will excel at sharing their story in a way that connects with today's consumers."
Objective, third-party judges, including Iowa farmer and celebrity Chris Soules (The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars), will help determine the final award recipient, with the winner announced during National Pork Month in October. The public will also have an opportunity to vote on the winning pig farmer through the Pork Checkoff's social media outlets. In September, short video clips of the finalists will be displayed at americaspigfarmer.com, where people can vote for their favorite farmer.
"I encourage pork producers to consider applying or to encourage others who would be great candidates to do so," Greenway said. "This new award will showcase what we do best - raise pigs in an ethical, responsible and transparent way."
All U.S. pig farmers are welcome to apply April 1 to May 17, with instructions and frequently asked questions found at americaspigfarmer.com or via the link on pork.org. Specific details also will be available through state pork associations.