In its ongoing effort to build consumer trust and foster greater transparency about U.S. pork production methods, the National Pork Board today announced its “expert judging panel” for the 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The award, now in its third year, recognizes a pig farmer who best represents the ethical principles of U.S. pork production.

Members of the five-member panel include Brittni Furrow, Walmart’s Senior Director of Sustainability; Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Dr. J. Scott Vernon, professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Cal Poly; and Brad Greenway, the 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year and chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

“Transparency is about sharing your story and literally opening the barn doors on pig farming,” said Terry O’Neel, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “We are so pleased to have a diverse, accomplished team of experts to assist in judging this year’s finalists. As in the past, it remains critical that this panel is fair, objective and brings diverse points of view to the process.”

Looking forward to the finalist judging slated for August 30, Ganzert said, “As an animal lover and the leader of the country’s first national humane organization, I am honored to again serve as a judge for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. American Humane celebrates all those, including our nation’s farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely. Today, more than ever, it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right.”

Joining Ganzert on the judging panel will be Walmart’s Brittni Furrow. “Farming has never been more in focus for today’s retail consumers. They do not just expect food producers to be ethical and sustainable, they demand it,” she said. “This award raises awareness on the importance of adopting best-in-class agricultural practices being employed by our nation’s farmers.”

Listen to how some of the judges feel about this responsibility, watch this video.

The judges will evaluate and score a video produced at the finalists’ farms and then conduct in-person interviews with them. The public can view the farmers’ videos and vote for a favorite from August 30 through September 13 by going to www.americaspigfarmer.com. The final winner will be announced during National Pork Month on Oct. 3, 2017.