A total of 14 young Iowa swine enthusiasts have elected to compete to become members of the 2016 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team.

The candidates will compete during the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s 44th annual Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines Jan. 27 and 28. All of the contestants will be judged on their overall knowledge of the pork industry and Iowa agriculture, interviewing and communications skills, poise and presentation.

IPPA has combined the Iowa Pork Queen and Premier Pork Youth Ambassador contests into one competition this year and will no longer select an Iowa Pork Princess. The top female contestant will be crowned pork queen and the top remaining contestants, male or female, will be named youth ambassadors.

Those competing for the queen and youth ambassador titles are:

  • Olivia Bisbee, Stacyville, Mitchell Co.
  • McKenna Brinning, Keota, Washington Co.
  • Holly Cook, Winthrop, Buchanan Co.
  • Kimberly Dornbier, Garner, Hancock Co.
  • Mitchell Juhl, Hudson, Grundy Co.
  • Jill Kessenich, Le Mars, Plymouth Co.
  • Kalee Leistikow, Readlyn, Bremer Co.
  • Heather Schnitker, Alden, Hardin Co.
  • Ashley Smeby, Klemme, Hancock Co.
  • Michael Tupper, Ionia, Chickasaw Co.
  • Angela Wilson, Delhi, Delaware Co.
  • Emma Wilson, Guthrie Center, Guthrie Co.
  • Laura Yoder, Kalona, Washington Co.
  • Elizabeth Zuber, Marengo, Iowa Co.

The new queen and youth ambassadors will represent the Iowa pork industry throughout the year at various promotional and educational events around the state, as well as at out-of-state events.

In addition to earning the various titles, each new team member will receive a $4,000 scholarship from the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

The new Pork Youth Leadership team will be introduced during the annual Iowa Pork Congress Banquet on Jan. 27 at the Veterans’ Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.

The 2015 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team included Queen Christy Calderwood of Traer, Princess Emily Cook of Hubbard and Youth Ambassador Alex Conover of Holstein.