The National Pork Board is accepting applications for its 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year award through March 13 at americaspigfarmer.com. The award recognizes a U.S. pork producer who demonstrates excellence in raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and in sharing his or her story with the public.
“As an animal lover and the leader of the country’s first national humane organization, I am honored to have been asked to serve as a judge for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association. She was a member of the judging panel that selected the 2015 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.
“The American Humane Association celebrates all those, including our nation’s farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely,” Ganzert said. “Today, more than ever it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right. I look forward to learning about these farmers who are working to give America’s families food that is safe, affordable, abundant, and in line with their values.”
Keith Schoettmer, a pig farmer from Tipton, IN, was selected as the first America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2015. He has participated in several events since earning this distinction last October. In the past four months, Schoettmer took part in a media tour in New York City, spoke at a congressional briefing in Washington, DC, and urged fellow farmers to share their stories through presentations at several state agriculture association meetings.
“I encourage every pig farmer to apply to be America’s Pig Farmer of the Year,” Schoettmer said. “This is a much-needed program that allows us to open our barn doors and show consumers what is really happening on pig farms across the U.S.”
Any U.S. pig farmer, who is 30 years of age or older on Jan. 1, 2016, can apply through March 13. Anyone that knows of a deserving pig farmer can also nominate a producer for this award. Instructions and frequently asked questions can be found at americaspigfarmer.com or via a link on pork.org.
Objective, third-party judges, along with the American public, will help determine the final award recipient, with the winner announced during National Pork Month in October. In early September, videos of the award finalists will be displayed at americaspigfarmer.com and on the Pork Checkoff’s social media outlets so people can vote for their favorite.
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management.