The new Minnesota Pork Ambassador and the first and second runners-up will be selected Aug. 3 at Farmfest. The Minnesota Pork Ambassador and runners-up will represent the state’s 4,000 pork producing families at various educational and promotional functions throughout the year.

Judges will select the top three individuals from a field of 17 pork ambassadors who are representing 14 county pork producer associations. The candidates will be introduced and the winners announced at a special 11:50 a.m. program that is open to the public in the Forum Tent. Program emcee will be farm broadcaster Lynn Ketelsen of Linder Farm Network.

Judges will evaluate the pork ambassador candidates on Aug. 1-3. The process includes a personal interview with the judges, public presentation on a swine-related topic, written essay and group activity. The public is encouraged to attend the ambassador candidates’ presentations from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Aug. 2, in the Minnesota Soybean/Minnesota Pork Tent (exhibitor #618).

The top placing individual earns a $1,500 scholarship, and first and second runners-up receive $750 and $500 scholarships, respectively. Judges also recognize the writer of the best essay with a $250 scholarship and the ambassadors will select a congeniality winner.

The Pork Ambassador program, funded through the National Pork Checkoff and sponsored by the Minnesota Pork Board, strives to develop young pork industry and agricultural leaders. The candidates are first selected by their respective county pork association to serve as local pork ambassadors. During their term as county ambassadors, the Minnesota Pork Board provides participants opportunities to improve their leadership and communication skills and programs to expand their agricultural knowledge.

Minnesota Pork Ambassador Candidates are:

Blue Earth County Pork Ambassador: Ryan Strobel, son of Greg and Robin Strobel of Pemberton.

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; Katie Winslow, daughter of Scott and Jean Winslow 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.

Mower County Pork Ambassador: Lee Kloeckner, son of John and Barb Kloeckner of Adams.

Olmsted County Pork Ambassador: Kevin Welter, son of Randy and Myrna Welter of Stewartville.

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.

Stevens County Pork Ambassador: Natalie Johnston, daughter of Lee and Judy Johnston of Morris.

Watonwan County Pork Ambassador:  Shelby Peterson, daughter of Rakki and Diane Peterson of Butterfield.

Source: Minnesota Pork Board