Consumers across Indiana may get a chance to learn all about pork production in the year ahead. The goal of the new Director of Checkoff Programs at Indiana Pork is to hit the state and converse with Hoosiers. Jeanette Merritt just joined the pork producers this month and she said her initial focus is making county visits to explain the importance of pork production to Indiana agriculture.
“We have a great livestock team in Indiana partnering with soybean and beef and pork and poultry that have worked with a lot of our county agencies,” she said. “I want to do some work on the consumer level to tell them why it’s ok to have a barn in your neighborhood or your county, why farmers take care of their animals and why farmers are stewards of the land. So that’s going to be a big focus of what I do along with just telling the story of Indiana livestock farmers.”
Merritt is no stranger to Indiana agriculture having just come from the Indiana Wine Grape Council, previously working as a farm broadcaster with our own Gary Truitt, and she comes from families steeped in agriculture. She told HAT the pork job is a good fit.
“Indiana wine was great. I had an opportunity to work in an industry that is a valuable part of agri tourism, but when the opportunity arose to move to pork it felt like coming home. My husband and I are 4th generation hog farmers on my family farm in Miami County and I’m very interested in making sure that there is a future for my kids to come back and farm. So coming to Indiana Pork felt like a natural fit. The livestock industry is ripe for expansion in the state, and they need someone to be a spokesman for the industry. And it felt like something I was supposed to do.”
She is also a director for the Indiana Soybean Alliance, a position she will retain even with the new job.
“I sit on the executive committee there and have loved all 6 years of it, and being able to serve Indiana soybean farmers is a passion of mine as well.”
Merritt has one more year in her current term and hopes to be re-elected to a final term this fall.