National Pork Month draws to a close, the Pork Checkoff is launching a new national awards program to recognize, inspire, and connect the next generation of American pig farmers. Through November 22, the National Pork Board is seeking applications from young producers to become one of the 2017 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow at www.pigfarmersoftomorrow.com. The new award will recognize future farm leaders, ages 18-29, who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and are committed to the U.S. pork industry and to raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles. “One of the National Pork Board’s primary responsibilities is to train and motivate future pork industry leaders,” said National Pork Board President Jan Archer, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “The award is designed to recognize and inspire youth who are investing their time and energy into responsible pig farming.”
Up to three award recipients will be selected in the program’s inaugural year. Winners will be invited to speak at National Pork Board events, including the March 2017 National Pork Industry Forum in Atlanta. They also will be responsible for providing content via the pork industry’s social media program #RealPigFarming. To apply, applicants must be actively involved in raising pigs in the U.S. on a full- or part-time basis and be between the ages of 18-29 as of January 1, 2017. Students currently enrolled in a college program also are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must have a completed Common Industry Audit or be willing to have one conducted and paid for by the National Pork Board. Applicants also must submit social media content defining a “day in the life” on their farm and upload up to 10 photos with 140 character descriptions. The National Pork Board selection committee will name up to eight semi-finalists who will be interviewed by a panel of judges to select the finalists. Three winners will be chosen based on a combination of all application materials.
“It is important for youth in our industry to make the right connections at the right time as they build a career in agriculture,” Archer said. “As the winners share their personal stories, the program will not only recognize these future leaders, but will introduce them to experienced producers and networking opportunities.”