The Minnesota Pork Board has named individuals and families who have made significant contributions to the state's pork industry. The 2010 MPB award winners are:
Marlys Miller, Minnesota native and Pork magazine editor, merges her pork production knowledge and communication skills to provide U.S. pork producers the information and commentary necessary for the 21st century. Miller’s dedication to accurately report and analyze pork production trends and issues are among the reasons for her selection as the Minnesota Pork Industry’s 2010 Distinguished Service award recipient.
Miller grew up on a Morristown, Minn. farm and graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in agricultural journalism and animal science. Miller has been at Pork magazine as associate editor and editor for 22 years.
Environmental Steward of the Year
The farming partnership of Pat and Kristin Duncanson and Karl and Jackie Duncanson derives its environmental, livestock and cropping choices through research, study and analysis. These traits that have earned Duncanson Growers of Mapleton the Minnesota Pork Industry’s 2010 Environmental Steward of the Year award.
The Duncansons’ swine enterprise includes finishing hogs on contract and receiving feeder pigs for finishing from a sow unit in which they are shareholders. To achieve a viable farming operation, Duncanson Growers believes that profitability and sustainability must go hand and hand.
Family of the Year
Gary and Jane Thome’s ability to have family members return to their Mower County swine and crop farm is a result of planning, analyzing and allowing their children to make the final decision on whether they wanted to pursue agricultural careers.The Thome’s sons and daughters-in-law, Matt and Amy and Pat and Gretchen, all of Adams, Minn., are partners in the farming enterprise. The Thome’s daughter Sarah, an elementary teacher, and their youngest son, Peter, an agricultural education major in college, both maintain a keen interest in farm activities.
The family’s enthusiastic involvement in pork promotions, industry leadership and swine production are reasons for their selection as the Minnesota Pork Industry’s 2010 Family of the Year.
Pork Promoter of the Year
What began as a third-grade classroom visit to talk about raising pigs has turned into an 18-year-old tradition for Vicky Singlestad. Singlestad and husband Scott brought a young piglet and shared interesting information about their Waseca County farrow-to-finish swine operation with their daughter’s classmates in 1991. Singlestad grew the agricultural education program into an annual event that now includes dairy, sheep and crop producers and has reached an estimated 2,800 school children.
Singlestad’s willingness to talk about the family’s swine and crop farm and to encourage cooperation between commodity groups are reasons she is the Minnesota Pork Industry’s 2010 Pork Promoter of the Year.
Swine Manager of the Year
Schwartz Farms, headquartered in Brown County, is a family-owned business with founding principles of integrity, respect, excellence, innovation, adaptability and dedication advocating a family-oriented atmosphere. The business philosophy of Schwartz Farms is simple – it understands it operates in a commodity environment and focuses on optimization of animal health and cost of production.
Schwartz Farms’ site manager, Brian Oeltjenbruns, together with farrowing unit staff, is a key to implementing this philosophy. Oeltjenbruns’ ability to put swine health and production management strategies into action, as well as motivate staff, is why he is named the 2010 Minnesota Pork Industry Swine Manager of the Year. Oeltjenbruns coordinates and delegates duties at the two sites which are comprised of 5,100 sows and 20 employees.
The MPB delivers programs on behalf of Minnesota’s 4,400 pork producers. These programs include promotions encouraging pork consumption, swine health research, care and management and educating consumers on pork nutrition, wholesomeness and preparation.