Mike Haag, a pork producer from Emington, Ill., was officially elected as president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) during the 2011 IL Pork Expo held February 15-16 in Peoria. Haag manages a 1,200-sow, farrow-to-finish operation with his brother-in-law, Jeff Stark, and father, Dewaine, in Livingston County. The Haags also grow about 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans.
"I look forward to the opportunity to serve Illinois pork producers," says Haag. "We must continue to pave the way for social license to operate in Illinois, and establish an environment that allows all producers to successfully and profitably remain in production."
Haag has been on the IPPA board in the officer rotation since 2004, having served as secretary, treasurer, vice president and president elect. He has been a member of IPPA since 1986.
Haag received an associate's degree in agriculture in 1988 from Lake Land Junior College in Mattoon, and a bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1990. Haag and his wife, Trisha, have three children, Kaleb, Brooke and Kacie.
"We need to focus both within agriculture and outside of agriculture to establish relationships that can help us provide consumers with a better understanding of where there food is raised," he says. "For the long-term success of our industry and Illinois agriculture, we need to tell our stories. The process may take some time, but it is important to our success."
Haag stresses the We Care initiative is one that Illinois pork producers can embrace as a badge of honor. "We Care is a not only a symbol and reminder of what we do every day, it provides an opportunity to explain to others what we do for consumers," he says. ""We hold ourselves accountable for taking care of our animals and maintaining a safe, high-quality pork supply."
Other IL Pork Producers officers elected for 2011 are as follows: President-Elect – Dereke Dunkirk, Morrisonville; Vice-President-Treasurer – Todd Dail, Erie; and Secretary – Curt Zehr, Washington.