As we enter into the last month of 2012, it’s customary to reflect on the year. Our family started the year with a very humbling event. We were the recipient of the 2012 Minnesota Pork Farm Family of the Year.
According to the Minnesota Pork Producers, the Family of the Year Award honors a pork producing family who has contributed to the long-term success of the industry through leadership and pork promotion on the local and/or state levels. This award requires a minimum of 20 years involvement in the pork industry.
Well, we definitely have been involved in the pork industry for more than 20 years. And yes, both my husband and I served many years on the Martin County Pork Producer organization years ago. He liked working with the membership while I worked with the Pork Ambassador program. I also served on a state committee. Knowing this will date me, but I was the president of the Martin County Pork Council Women when we merged with the men’s Pork Producers. Yes, we had two different groups – one for men and one for women. It only made sense to merge because we were all working towards the same goal. We could work better by working together.
As I look back and reminisce over the years, we realize we are so fortunate to live in this part of Minnesota. We truly have some very strong ag leaders and visionaries that allowed not only this part of the state to flourish in raising pork but nationwide.
We live in Martin County and we are the number one county in Minnesota in pork production. And Minnesota is the 2nd largest state in pork production right behind Iowa.
Yes, we have alot of hogs in our county.
But better yet, we have our own pork seasoning! We use it on all of our pork grillouts – Martin County Magic Seasoning! We love pork in this county and we make a mean pork chop on-a-stick!
So what does it mean to be the 2012 Minnesota Pork Farm Family of the Year?
It’s easy to answer because it’s not about us. Our farm family is just like everyone elses. Maybe the size of our farms are different or we may manage our farms a little different – but we are all pork farmers who take pride in what we do. We ALL volunteered to represent pork and pork farming.
When we first became members many years ago, we spent a lot of time promoting pork. Today it seems we spend our time defending it. Yes, things have changed but we are up to the challenge.
We spent many hours preparing and serving pork to consumers. In a sense, we need to get back to doing more of the grassroots, face-to-face contact with consumers like we did back then. We enjoyed those times. Not only was it an opportunity to get to know other pork farmers but we could also talk to consumers about what we did.
We are proud and it’s a privilege to be part of the county, state and national pork producer groups. These organizations have provided great leadership. The pork producer groups can do what we as individual pork farmers cannot. They are our voice. But with the internet, it is now easier for pork farmers to have their voice heard and to converse literally with consumers all over the world. And we as pork farmers need to do this.
While it was an honor to receive this award, we realized it was also important to give back. One way we do this is through agvocacy. And yes, we have challenges confronting us, but we are also resilient and we will meet these challenges.