Each year, theMinnesota Pork Board recognizes individuals and families who have made significant contributions to the state’s pork industry. This year’s Pork Industry Award winners are:

  • Distinguished Service, Don Buhl of Tyler
  • Environmental Steward of the Year, Jim and JoAnn Veldkamp of Jasper
  • Family of the Year, Dennis and Lucy Potter of Springfield
  • Pork Promoter of the Year, Terry Engel of St. James
  • Swine Manager of the Year, Center Creek Pork farm manager, Lynn Jagodzinske of Welcome

Award winners can be nominated by their peers, business associates, county pork producer associations and Minnesota Pork Board staff members. A pork producer panel makes the final selections.

Winners will be recognized at the Ambassador and Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Minneapolis Hilton. The luncheon begins at 12:45 p.m. and is in conjunction with Minnesota Pork Congress.

Here's a more detailed snapshot of the winners.

Distinguished Service: Don Buhl of Tyler

An advocate for teamwork and community involvement, Don Buhl believes all pork producers can benefit by having an open mind and by networking. As a founding member of the Pipestone System, Buhl has firsthand experience on the importance of education, networking and participation. “Learn as much as you can for as long as you can,” Buhl said. “The swine industry is a very competitive industry that changes very rapidly. You must adapt to keep up with the changes.” Buhl’s leadership at the local, state and national levels, his desire to educate others on pork production practices and a strong commitment to his family and friends are primary reasons he is this year’s Minnesota Pork Industry Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Pork Promoter: Terry Engel of St. James

For Terry Engel , pork promotions are more than just flipping pork chops on the grill – it’s an opportunity to educate people about pork and to build a positive perception of Minnesota agriculture. Engel’s promotional and educational work earns him the Pork Promoter of the Year Award. Engel, a member of the Watonwan County Pork Producers Association, strongly believes it is essential for all pork producers to be pork industry advocates. To counter negative criticism and misinformation about the pork industry, Engel says it’s important that producers communicate clear, concise and positive messages to the public.

Swine Manager: Lynn Jagodzinske and Center Creek Pork team members

Lynn Jagodzinske’s ability to lead team members, provide steady flows of weaned pigs to producers and to excel in a crisis are among reasons for his selection as the Minnesota Pork Industry Swine Manager of the Year. Jagodzinske is farm manager at Center Creek Pork, located in Martin County . Preferred Capital Management (PCM), a swine management company serving Center Creek Pork owners, nominated Jagodzinske and his team for this award. PCM Manager Barry Hilgendorf said Jagodzinske is a skilled pork producer who can analyze challenges facing the farm. He seeks solutions by gathering and considering team member input and he has built a pleasant work atmosphere for Center Creek Pork team members.

Family of the Year: Potter Family of Springfield

To be successful pork producers, Dennis and Lucy Potter believe that one needs to be dedicated, enjoy raising pigs and understand marketing. The Potters, along with their son, Nate, finish isowean pigs on their Brown County farm. The Potter family also includes daughters Jessica, an aviation trainer who lives in Hollywood , Fla. , and daughter and son-in-law, Erin and John Lafferty of Okoboji , Iowa , and their children Liam, Kierin and Kiera. The Potters’ commitment to pork promotions, educating others about agriculture and community involvement, all contribute to their selection as Family of the Year.

Environmental Steward: Veldkamp Farm of Jasper, Jim and JoAnn Veldkamp

Jim and JoAnn Veldkamp illustrate holistic farming at its best, said Pipestone System swine veterinarian Dr. Gordon Spronk. “They are caretakers of the land and of their animals,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award. They have a high level of commitment to the environment and to their livestock. Jim and JoAnn, together with farm employees, Joe Buysse and Randy Baden, work as a team to achieve conservation, farm aesthetic and swine management goals - all factors contributing to their selection as the Minnesota Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winners.

Source: Minnesota Pork Board