Katie Winslow of Fountain will serve as the new Minnesota Pork Ambassador. Judges selected Winslow from a field of 17 county pork ambassadors this past week, during competition held in conjunction with the state’s agricultural event, Farmfest.
The Minnesota Pork Ambassador program, funded through the pork checkoff and sponsored by the Minnesota Pork Board, strives to develop young pork industry leaders.
Winslow, the daughter Scott and Jean Winslow, represented the Fillmore County Pork Producers Association. She is a University of Minnesota student majoring in agricultural education, with a minor in political science. As Minnesota Pork Ambassador, she will receive a $1,500 scholarship from the MPB. After college, Winslow’s career path includes becoming an ag instructor or working with commodity or farm groups to carry out promotional and educational programs.
“My political science background will help me in any career, as well as one at the state capitol where the telling of our story is vitally important,” she said.
First runner-up was Ryan Strobel of Pemberton, the son of Greg and Robin Strobel. He represented the Blue Earth County Pork Producers Association. Second runner-up was Natalie Johnston of Morris, the daughter of Lee and Judy Johnston. She represented the Stevens County Pork Producers Association.
Strobel is a veterinary medicine student at the University of Minnesota. His career goals are to work as a swine veterinarian and to remain actively involved on his parent’s crop and hog farm. He will receive a $750 scholarship.
Johnston is pursuing an animal science degree at the University of Minnesota, preparing for a career in animal health and pharmaceuticals. She will receive a $500 scholarship.
Winslow, Strobel and Johnston will represent the state’s 4,000 pork producing families at various functions throughout their term as pork ambassadors, including consumer and producer educational events, and promotional activities that encourage pork consumption and public understanding of how pig farmers care for their animals. They will also have opportunities to enhance their understanding of the U.S. pork industry and to expand their leadership and communication skills.
Lee Kloeckner of Adams, the son of John and Barb Kloeckner, received $250 for his winning essay, Pork Safety. Kloeckner will be a freshman at the University of Minnesota with his career sights set on becoming a large animal veterinarian. He represented the Mower County Pork Producers Association.
Kevin Welter of Stewartville, representing the Olmsted County Pork Producers Association, received congeniality honors from his fellow pork ambassador candidates. This accolade recognizes Welter for his amiable, helpful and friendly personality. He is the son of Randy and Myrna Welter and he will attend South Dakota State University, Brookings, where his major is agricultural and bio-systems engineering.
County pork ambassadors who also took part in the competition were:
East Central Pork Ambassador (Counties of Pine, Isanti and Kanabec) Kayla Michels, daughter Norman Michels of Cambridge
Fillmore County Pork Ambassadors: Aaron Gillespie, son of Jeff and Jackie Gillespie of Fountain
Freeborn County Pork Ambassador: Tyler Adix, son of Debra Adix of Alden
Le Sueur County Pork Ambassador: Leah Sample, daughter of Mark and Teresa Sample of Le Sueur
Martin County Pork Ambassadors: Matraca Steen, daughter of Brian and LeeAnn Steen of Sherburn
Hayley Faber, daughter of Donny and Dawn Faber of Sherburn
Pipestone County Pork Ambassador: Clayton Johnson, son of Curt and Diane Johnson of Jasper
Redwood County Pork Ambassador: Brady Welu, son of John and Theresa Welu of Milroy
Renville County Pork Ambassador: Lisa Roker, daughter of Jonathan and Karen Roker of Bird Island
Scott County Pork Ambassadors: Maria Brekke, daughter of Jon and Barb Brekke of Shakopee
Matthew Hanson, son of Allen and Theresa Hanson of Jordan
Watonwan County Pork Ambassador: Shelby Peterson, daughter of Rakki and Diane Peterson of Butterfield