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Mike Salter

Mike Salter – Black Creek, Wisconsin

Mike Salter is the owner and operator of a feeder-to-finish farm that markets 10 pigs annually. He also raises corn and soybeans.

Salter held positions as president, vice president, and treasurer for the Wisconsin Pork Board. He also is involved in his county’s pork board, fair, livestock committee and farm bureau. Salter is active with his local fire department and is an Operation Main Street speaker.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I have been active in Wisconsin Pork Association for many years and now that I am retiring from that board, I would like to continue to serve the pork industry. I have time and experience to serve on the National Pork Board and would appreciate the opportunity.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Some of the biggest problems facing us are the general public’s opinion that they get off of the news medias. Our challenge is to inform them and keep informing them that we are doing the right things following the right procedures incorporating the we care practices.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Our opportunity is to keep a good healthy product and keep improving the quality of the meat trying to get more consistent product so that the customers get the same meal every time they try it. Another opportunity is staying abreast of Facebook, Twitter and communications networks that we are putting out the proper word.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

It’s hard to say how it can be positive with the changing world so fast – but my strength is in that I listen and try to come up with the best solution to the problems and making sure that we look at all sides of the problems or opportunities. I do have a positive attitude toward this swine industry and I will always have a positive attitude. I must be doing something right for Wisconsin pork Association for years I’ve been on the board.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

It would be an honor to be on the board and I would do my best to keep the board going forward and keep in the pork industry the number one industry for producing tasty protein.

Alan Wulfekuhle

Alan Wulfekuhle – Quasqueton, Iowa

Alan Wulfekuhle is the owner and operator of G&W Pork in Quasqueton, Iowa. G&W Pork is a farrow-to-finish farm that markets 45,000 pigs annually. He also raises corn and soybeans.

Wulfekuhle was active with the Iowa Pork Producers from 2010 to 2017, serving as president in 2016. He now serves on the National Swine Disease Response Council and was previously on multiple national and state committees. Wulfekuhle is on the advisory board for the College of Veterinarian Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University and on the Swine Day planning committee. He is a board member of the Monti Community Center and his church.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I volunteer because I believe I can make a difference. We are at a critical juncture in US Pork Production with our livelihood more and more tied to being competitive in the worldwide meat production industry. I want to be part of the team that provides producers with tools they need to improve herd health and production, also packer/processors tools they need to improve consumer demand and acceptance of our product and practices.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Foreign animal disease introduction into the US is by far the biggest risk. Loss of exports would be economically devastating. Pork is a true supply/demand market, we lower the price until someone buys. We have a group of highly motivated/passionate people working together to develop a plan to keep FAD’s out of this country and stomp out quickly if one gets in. I’m one of these people.

Plant based proteins/alternatives to meat products. An enormous amount of investor money is flowing into this industry, they will carve out a market share. How we as the US pork industry responds will play a huge factor on how big this share becomes.

Public acceptance of our production practices. Today’s producers have a great story to tell, producing more pork with far less resources than ever before. Yet caring for and making efficient use of the earth’s resources is only part of what consumers desire. We need to address, answer and respond to all their concerns. They are our customers and as an industry, we will adapt what we produce and how we produce it to satisfy their needs.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

The “pig survivability project” with NPB is a perfect example of how much potential remains untapped in US pig industry. Being on NPB animal science committee and working with Iowa State University researchers for so many years has me closely connected.

I’ve been involved with NPB, IPPA and private industry movement to utilize new technology in pork production. I’m honored to represent producers on research committees. Your checkoff funded research is seeing some amazing results.

Gene-editing, this is a game changer. The country that secures government/consumer acceptance first, will have an enormous economic advantage over the rest of the world’s pork producers. I’ve done NPB media training for gene-editing and encourage all producers to learn about and be ready to promote gene-editing whenever the opportunity arises.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

I love this industry and the people in it. We are hardworking, independent, mentally tough and ready to persevere through all obstacles. I know, I’ve lived it my entire life.

Success in life depends on each of our abilities to surround ourselves with the best people. Helping people become their best requires our assistance. Education, motivation, and trust are key components. After that, it comes down to providing tools they need to become successful. I’ve been blessed to be able to do that in my own business.

I want to be part of the team at the National Pork Board that assists U.S. producers and everyone involved in this great industry, become the best they can be.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

I learned the importance of pig health early in my career. When the foreign animal disease “PRRS” got into this country (and my farm) it was depressing and economically devastating. I wanted to be part of the solution, so I joined in Dr. Morrison/UM “time to negative study”, worked with Jean Paul Cano/BI starting one of the first Regional control projects, Dr. Holtkamp/ISU in his epi work, Dr. Main/ISU labs in testing and Jeff Kaisand/IDALS with premise ID database.

Since then more foreign animal diseases (Circo, HINI, PED, Seneca Valley) have made their way into the US. All of these are minor compared to what African Swine Fever could do to our industry.

I want to be part of the team that stomps out the next foreign animal disease that gets into this country. Together we can do this.

 

John Scanga

John Scanga – Loveland, Colorado

John Scanga is owner, manager, and operator of 4S Farms in Loveland, Colorado, and markets 12 pigs annually. 4S Farms is a wean-to-finish operation that focuses on raising and exhibiting market barrows and gilts and developing breeding gilts for the show pig industry. Scanga also raises horses, corn and alfalfa.

Scanga is active in the Colorado Pork Producer Council and the Colorado Junior Swine Association. He is also serving on the Weld County Fair Board, the Colorado Beef Council, and the American Meat Science Association.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I am a strong proponent of producer checkoff programs and having served on the Colorado Pork Producer’s Council, I have had the opportunity to direct the use of those funds towards consumer education, pork promotion and research to the benefit of the Colorado pork industry.  Having an opportunity to serve on the National Pork Board would provide a larger, more impactful platform from which my ideas, efforts, and passion for animal protein production can be shared with producers and consumers of pork.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

At the risk of being a broken record, everyone in the global pork industry is working and praying that we can keep African Swine Fever out of the U.S. swine herd.  I believe our industry is well positioned such that the risk of a disease occurrence or outbreak is low, as the disease continues to spread globally, many believe it is only a matter of time.  Outside of a major market disruption such as ASF, the U.S. pork industry will continue to be challenged to produce safe, affordable and sustainable protein.  There will be constant pressure on environmental impacts, air and water quality and animal welfare and more pressing will be the need for the industry to share their messages on the benefits of the industry, the improvements made in environmental stewardship and to promote the power of pork protein in the human diet.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

International demand for protein, specifically pork as the most abundantly consumed meat globally will provide the U.S. pork industry opportunity to grow pork exports to unprecedented levels.  The opportunity for continued export growth, reduced tariffs, and increased international demand will provide strong market support to the industry.  Domestically, I see the pork industry leading the advancement of farm biosecurity practices, feed, and ingredient testing protocols and vaccine development.  The global demand for protein will continue to increase and the U.S. pork industry is well prepared to meet this demand with a high quality, safe and affordable source of nutrient dense protein.  I also am optimistic that consumers are becoming more centered in their thinking and that radical and activist messaging is becoming less impactful.  This will lead to a more favorable environment in which factual and rational discussions can occur and will bring consumers closer to the pork industry and to the practices and methods through which their food is being supplied.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

I believe my experience on other elected and appointed boards, along with my educational and industry background provides a complementary skill set that will bring innovative ideas and leadership to the pork industry.  My research experience and scientific background will be beneficial in committee work in identifying research needs and priorities and my ability to communicate in both written and verbal formats to a broad audience, from the most technical to the least experienced, will aid in sharing the message of the U.S. pork industry and the benefits of producer checkoff programs.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

I have a strong passion for agriculture, the people, the animals, and the business.  There is no better industry to be affiliated with and no more noble cause to serve that feeding a growing global population.  My entire professional career has centered around supporting and helping others in agriculture, primarily as a technical resource, but also as a parent, volunteer, board member and advisor.  From our local FFA chapter, Weld County Fair Board, Colorado Junior Swine Association, Colorado Pork Producers Council and American Meat Science Association, I have sought out opportunities to lend assistance to others and lead organizations that promote agriculture, support youth development and further the production of protein based foods.  I look forward to this next opportunity to serve on the National Pork Board.

Scott Phillips

Scott Phillips – Drexel, Missouri
Second Term Incumbent

Scott Phillips owns and operates Phillips Farms in Drexel, Missouri. Phillips Farms is a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 125,000 pigs annually. Phillips also raises corn and soybeans on his family farm.

Phillips is active in the Missouri Pork Producers Association, serving as chair (2015-2016), treasurer and secretary. He is a board member of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and an Operation Main Street speaker. Phillips is active in his church and in Boy Scouts. Phillips currently is a member of the National Pork board of directors.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

Serving on the Board of Directors the past three has given me the knowledge and expertise to serve in a more influential and proactive way during a second term.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Clearly African Swine Fever is our greatest Challenge. This requires a multifaceted approach from the Pork Checkoff and industry. First, secure the borders to keep ASF from entering our country. Second, If we do get ASF in the U.S. have Secure Pork Supply up and running so that state animal health officials have better data for containment and pig movement. Third, regionalize the U.S. so that exports can continue from ASF free regions. Fourth, initiate a media information campaign to assure consumers pork is safe to eat. There are many other actions to initiate but these are the essential actions.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Opportunities usually result from challenges. ASF continues to expand across the world. Much of the sow herd has been devastated and there will be a protein shortage in 2020 across the globe. We are in a position to provide quality pork to the countries decimated by ASF.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

In all personal and farm matters I have always committed to the We Care principles. I desire to be a joyful and faithful steward of all the resources God has blessed me with. These resources are covered by the six We Care pillars. I routinely open my farm up to visitors and have made videos to show consumers we really do practice what we preach. We Care.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

It has been a privilege to serve as a member of the Board of Directors the past three years. I would be honored to be reelected for another three-year term.

Larry Liepold

Larry Liepold – Okabena, Minnesota

Larry Liepold is the owner and operator of Liepold Farms LLC in Okabena, Minnesota, and is responsible for all animal well-being, feeding, and capital. Liepold Farms is a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 2,400 pigs annually. He also co-owns a Boer goat herd with his daughter and raises corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and barley.

On a national level, Liepold served on the National Pork Producers Council board of directors from 2006-2012 and is now a member of the PORKPAC board of directors. He also has been active in the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. Liepold is actively involved in the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Jackson County 4-H, his church and Heron Lake Emergency Medical Services. He is an Operation Main Street speaker.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I want to remain relevant in the pork industry, by bringing my ideas and thoughts to this group of industry leaders. By serving as an example that all producers have a place in this industry if that is their choice.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Competition from other proteins, specifically analogue meat substitutes.

Introducing more individuals and families to the importance of cooking and enjoying a meal at home. Home cooking is more affordable, has a greater sensory impression on a person and opens the opportunity to express creativity.

A challenge will be getting the market hog harvested and product moved where it is needed. This needs to be addressed by packing and processing industries.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Positive and negative forces are creating the opportunity to grow the industry here and export pork around the world. Filling the need where swine disease has removed pork from diets where it has been for generations the protein of choice. Capitalize on this the ability of the American producer to be the low-cost producer.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

By dutifully understanding and addressing the programs of the National Pork Board. These initiatives enhance producer profitability through the presentation of our product to the consumer.

By serving as an example that all producers have a place in this industry if that is their choice.

Heather Hill

Heather Hill – Greenfield, Indiana
Second Term Incumbent

Heather Hill is co-owner of Hill Farms, LLC in Greenfield, Indiana. Hill Farms is a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 30,000 pigs annually also growing corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Hill is a former president of the Indiana Pork Board and has been actively involved with the group since 2009. She is actively involved in the National FFA Career Development Sales Committee, the Farm Bureau and her church. She has served as a leader for the local 4-H chapter and is an Operation Main Street speaker. Hill is currently a board member for the National Pork Board.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board? 

I am very proud to be raising the 5th generation of pig farmers on our family farm. It is very important to me that my three children have the ability to have a future in agriculture and specifically the pig industry if they so desire. My husband and I know that if we aren’t willing to stand up for our industry, we can’t expect anyone else to be willing to do it either and that could put our children’s future in jeopardy. Agriculture and more specifically the pig industry is my passion and I believe my background and experiences allow me to provide a unique perspective to the board. I have been very humbled and honored to serve on the National Pork Board for the last three years and want to continue to be able to give back to this amazing industry over the next three years.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years? 

There are many issues and challenges facing the pork industry; however, I feel there are three that need our continued attention to ensure our future success as an industry: swine health, technology and innovation, and consumer perceptions.

Regardless of farm size, pork producers often have to deal with health challenges; however, now we must also deal with the increased, ongoing threat of foreign animal disease. Health challenges of any kind can be devastating, but a foreign animal disease could completely turn our industry upside down. I’m very proud of all of the behind the scenes work many in our industry are doing on a constant basis to keep foreign animal diseases out of our country, while also developing plans and systems for worst case scenarios. We must continue to work together with an organized, systematic approach to ensure our industry’s viability.

Technology is a part of everyone’s daily life. Most of us could not imagine our day without the use of our smartphone; however, the adoption of technology and innovation in our industry is often slow due to consumer and producer perceptions. We must find ways to be able to adopt innovations in our operations that have benefits for our end users along with creating efficiencies on the farm. We must also work to ensure that current innovations we have such as antibiotics continue to be available in our toolbox.

In today’s world, an abundance of information, both accurate and false, is available at one’s fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This information overload has caused today’s consumers to question what is true and what is false and often causes them to form perceptions that are not reality and not based on science. These perceptions rather than science are then impacting decision makers. From policy and regulations on a domestic and international level such as the export market being impacted by the bans on Ractopamine to the local, state, and national government level to the food company level as evidenced by the many confusing labels we see on food on the grocery store or in advertisements. As pork producers, we must work more now than ever in the past to tell our story and educate consumers, elected officials, and those involved in the food industry about today’s pork industry.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years? 

The challenges facing our industry have created many opportunities.  As producers, we must commit to taking an active role in our local, state, and national organizations to ensure our industry is moving at the speed of business and addressing these issues and taking advantage of these opportunities as they occur.  Continued collaboration and synergies will be critical in addition to being responsive and prepared.   Additionally, we must help each other with a grassroots approach to ensure we are supporting each other. Our industry continues to serve various types and kinds of producers and it takes all kinds to make our industry strong. This strength will only help us continue to be successful regardless of the obstacles we face. In addition to the local, state, and national associations working together, we must be willing and take a leadership role to work with our fellow livestock and grain producers. Ultimately, we are all the face of agriculture and we must work together to ensure our future.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry? 

If re-elected to the National Pork Board, I will be a voice and advocate for all producers and our industry whether it be in the board room, an interview, or a one-on-one conversation with a consumer.  My passion for the swine industry and my background and experiences allow me to provide a unique perspective to the board.  This will only further allow me to have a positive influence on the pork industry with and on behalf of my fellow producers.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share? 

It has been a true honor to serve on the National Pork Board for the last three years. I am excited to see the execution of many of the initiatives that have been started in the last three years, including Checkoff 4.0. I would love to have the opportunity to see these through over the next three years if elected to another term on the National Pork Board.

Todd Erickson

Todd Erickson – Northwood, North Dakota
Second Term Incumbent

Todd Erickson is the general manager of North Dakota Sow Cooperative Management, LLC, a 12,500 sow farrow-to-wean farm that markets 340,000 pigs annually.

Erickson is active in the North Dakota Pork Council and served on the board from 2003 to 2012, including roles as president and vice president. He is a graduate of the Pork Leadership Academy. Erickson is a current member of the National Pork board of directors and was on multiple National Pork Board committees.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I have served one term on the National Pork Board and have learned a lot about our industry. I would cherish the opportunity to serve a second term. The Board of Directors has made many changes to how the National Pork Board operates. I believe we are spending Checkoff dollars in ways that benefit all producers. I would like to help see these changes through to the end when Checkoff 4.0 becomes a reality.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Staying profitable. We are operating in a global marketplace. With threats of foreign animal disease and trade interruptions, everything we do has global impacts. Our industry needs to work every day to keep our sow heard healthy. When we are successful our product will be in demand both domestically and internationally.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Recruiting and retaining new talent to our industry. By this, I mean both employees and friends of our industry. When we ask our producers, many have needs for employees. By working with high school students we will be able to help fill the labor gap. Opening our farms to consumers via social media we are gaining advocates that help us tell our positive story.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

I proudly carry the positive message of pork production. I pledge my time to be an effective Board member and donate my time where needed for the advancement of al producers. It is awesome serving on a board with other producers that volunteer their time.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

I want to thank everyone for their support as my first term ends. It would be my honor to serve a second term alongside producers from around the United States. I would appreciate your consideration for a second term on the National Pork Board.

Jeremy Burkett

Jeremy Burkett – Casper, Wyoming

Jeremy Burkett is the owner and operator of a farrow-to-feeder farm that markets 25 pigs annually for 4-H and FFA projects.

Burkett has been active as the Natrona County Fair swine superintendent since 2016. He also is a U.S. Pork Center of Excellence board member, a Wyoming Pork Producers Council state executive, a Casper College livestock judging coach and a Wyoming 4-H youth leader.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the National Pork Board because of my unique skill set of education, practical experience, and knowledge of applicable research.   I have always had a passion for the swine industry and representing what we the industry stand for.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Identifying International trade specifically capturing emerging and developing markets available Foreign Animal Diseases prevention and preparedness

How do we continue to use the We Care platform throughout the value chain to promote pig farming as a practice is good for the planet, and pork is a healthy nutritious product for the consumer?

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

Adopting emerging technology while maintaining consumer acceptance and demand and providing a social license and acceptance to eat pork.  Additionally, bridging the gap of technology with the producer and allowing their understanding of improved efficiencies in production and marketing systems.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

In my position as a college instructor and well educated faculty, I get the unique opportunity to work with youth FFA and 4-H members, college students, experienced researchers, local and national pork producers.  I can provide a strong voice for the Western and Rocky Mountain states and share my passion for the swine industry.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to serving on the National Pork Board.

Ben Barcovtch

Ben Barcovtch – Middletown, Pennsylvania

Ben Barcovtch is the service manager on the nursery and finishing team for Country View Family Farms in Middletown, Pennsylvania. County View Family Farms is a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 1,400,000 pigs annually. In his responsibilities, Barcovtch works with contract growers.

Barcovtch is a Pennsylvania Pork Leadership representative and a Pork Leadership Institute graduate. He also is involved in Farm Bureau.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I would like to give back to an industry that has created so many opportunities and helped develop so many friendships for myself.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

A few of the biggest challenges I see our industry facing are African Swine Fever, developing better international markets and dealing with growing pressure from non – meat alternatives.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

There is going to be a huge market opportunity not only with ASF effecting China but also with growing middle classes in other counties hungry for affordable protein.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry?

If elected I will use my leadership skills to represent all producers across this great nation and help close the gap between producers and consumers.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

When you finally find out what God’s plan was for you great things start happening. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

 

Deborah Ballance

Deborah BallanceFremont, North Carolina
Second Term Incumbent

Deborah Ballance owns and operates Legacy Farms, a farrow-to-finish hog operation near Fremont, North Carolina. Legacy Farms markets 30,000 hogs annually and also raises cattle, corn, soybeans, and hay. 

Ballance is a member of the North Carolina Pork Council and the NC Farm Bureau County board. She has held multiple past committee seats and is currently a board member for the National Pork Board.  

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board?

I would like to serve a second term on the board because the first term has been so rewarding. Exposure to the complexities of the pork industry on the national level and the opportunity to play a role in determining the needs and uses of pork checkoff dollars is a responsibility I take seriously in order to have a positive impact for all producers.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

I think one if not the biggest challenge facing the pork industry in the United States is keeping foreign animal disease out of the United States and managing our response if it enters the country. We need to prepare and continue working on a vaccine for ASF.

Another challenge I see is making sure we have the markets we need for all the pork that we are producing and projected to produce over the next few years.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years?

I see the opportunity for the pork industry in the Unites States to supply the world with pork due to the impact of ASF.

I see that National Pork Board is guiding the industry to work with retailers, restaurants, and food service to show consumers what a wonderful story the pork producers have to tell on sustainability and nutrition.

I believe there is opportunity for engagement with consumers to make pork their go to protein because we can adapt to the products or convenience they are seeking.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry? 

This is a great industry with great producers all across the country. I’d like to bring a positive attitude, forward thinking and respect for the producers to the board to meet the needs of producers now and in the future

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share?

I think National Pork Board has made a good business decision to restructure the way it operates to be more agile and engaged with consumers which thereby makes it more effective for producers.