Describe your involvement in the pork industry.
I farm with my family near Belgrade, Minnesota. We have a diverse grain and livestock farm. We grow corn, sugar beets, edible beans along with some small grains and soybeans. We are a multiplier for DNA genetics. I’ve been involved in the pork industry in various roles over the years. I started with our local county group in the 80’s and am currently completing my first term on the Minnesota Pork Producers Association executive board.
Why do you want to serve on the MPPA Executive Board?
My first term has been a learning experience. At both the state and national levels, there are extremely talented and passionate people working for our industry. They do an excellent job of listening to the board members and developing policies and programs that reflect what we as producers are looking for. The reason I’m running for another term is so that I, along with the entire board, can continue to give guidance to the MPPA staff and direct the work of the organization.
What is the greatest challenge/opportunity facing Minnesota pork and what is your role in address the opportunity/challenge?
As we all know the challenges that we face change rapidly. Currently, I think market disruptions due to various reasons such as COVID-19, trade issues, and the ongoing threat of African Swine Fever(ASF) all present challenges to our industry. Our association working with the National Pork Producers Council and elected officials helped get packing plants back online last spring. We have made our voice heard in Washington regarding retaliatory tariffs and pushed for free trade agreements wherever possible. We have been working on a response plan with state animal health leaders as well as neighboring states in the unfortunate scenario ASF or another foreign animal disease is discovered in the US. We are also looking at a changing political scene that will require more education of our industry to elected officials who have probably only seen pigs at the state fair. Many of these initiatives are funded by non-checkoff or SIP investments that we as producers make in our industry. As MPPA board members, it is our role to ensure those funds are used to address issues that face our industry.
What role does the Minnesota Pork Producers Association need to play in ensuring the success of Minnesota pig farmers?
I think the role of the MPPA is to be an advocate and support all pig farms in Minnesota. We are the voice of our industry and need to be able to quickly respond to issues as they come up. We need to keep telling our urban neighbors that we safely produce a healthy and delicious product in a humane way that protects our natural resources. We also need to encourage the next generation and support policies to help them succeed.