The Pork Checkoff is accepting applications for the 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year award. This award recognizes a U.S. pork producer who demonstrates excellence in raising pigs using the We Care ethnical principles and sharing his or her story with the public.
Tipton, Indiana pig farmer Keith Schoettmer was selected as the first America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2015. Schoettmer says this is a much-needed program.
“We have got to understand in this industry that we do indeed have detractors. That’s not always the most pleasant thing to talk about but there are those that wish that our industry didn’t exist and they cast doubt in the consumers’ mind sometimes with their message. When there’s doubt there’s a lack of trust because people don’t trust what they don’t understand. It’s our job now to go out and be as transparent as we can with this industry and show consumers and folks just how we do raise the pigs, how we do care for them and to open the barn doors and tell our story of how these pigs are cared for every day.”
Any U.S. pig farmer, who is 30 years of age or older on January 1, 2016, can apply through March 13. As the winner, Schoettmer participated in media events and even a congressional briefing, and as the winner he helped share his story with the public. What about the time commitment?
“It’s a little hard to keep track of because there are a lot of little bits and pieces through a lot of days, but in general they ask you for 30 days throughout the year. It seems like a lot but it’s really not bad at all. It’s spread out pretty well and a lot of these events one might go to anyhow, like World Pork Expo.”