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Dale Stevermer, Minnesota

Biography

Mr. Dale Stevermer is the owner of Trails End Farm, a feeder pig-to-finish and diversified crop farm near Easton, Minnesota. Each year, Trails End Farm markets 5,000 pigs for Compart Family Farms in addition to raising 450 acres of corn and soybeans. He is a past president of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association (MPPA) Board. Additionally, he has served on multiple other committee positions for MPPA. He serves on the Faribault County Corn and Soybean Growers Association, is involved in the Faribault County 4-H program and is a Minnesota Farm Bureau member. He is active in his church and the current chair of the local school board.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Dale Stevermer is an extremely knowledgeable member of the pork industry. He’s a firm believer in the National Pork Board’s role in advancing industry research in collaboration with other industry groups. Specifically, he’s passionate about water quality and antibiotic usage being critical components of that supported research in the future. And Dale knows producer engagement is an important part of sustaining a thriving pork industry.

We CareSM Principles

Dale represents the We Care ethical principles throughout his farm. He is a firm believer in all the principles and sees them as key pieces of an industry-wide effort to support producers for generations into the future. Community is a passion of Dale’s; he’s highly involved in his local community in a variety of organizations. He believes integrity and transparency are fundamental to a pork producer’s work, and he does his best to incorporate those values into his daily life and around his community.

Leadership Skills

Dale has a wealth of leadership experience that has taught him useful skills to lead better and serve others. When conflict arises, he asks questions first, then employs a calm demeanor to foster good communication with all involved team members. He is always looking for opportunities to learn by listening first, then asking questions.

Communication Skills

Dale is a competent and strong communicator. He is skilled at building trust with others. He is a progressive thinker, always considering potential solutions for any potential problems. Finally, Dale is adept at communicating and applying those solutions, especially working with others in collaborative environments.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Dale takes pride in working in the pork industry and truly loves what he does. He enjoys being around the animals and ensuring they receive proper care. He is persistent in working toward goals. He believes that sustainability is the key to a successful future for the pork industry. He wants to leave the industry in better condition than it was when he began, ultimately providing opportunities for generations of future pork producers.

Brett Rutledge, Colorado

Biography

Mr. Brett Rutledge owns and operates Triple R Farms with his brother, Roc, and sister, Spring. Triple R Farms is a feeder pig-to-finish farm near Yuma, Colorado, that contract finishes for Smithfield. Triple R Farms markets 11,000 hogs annually and also raises cattle, corn, hard white winter wheat and organic blue corn. They additionally compost animal mortalities and use the compost to increase the organic matter of their soils. Rutledge is a former president of Colorado Pork Producers Council and has been a Pork All-American. Additionally, he is a member of multiple other commodity group associations in Colorado. He serves on the Colorado Ag Commission and is a local 4-H leader.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Brett Rutledge believes it is the National Pork Board’s responsibility to provide consumers assurance of the health and safety of U.S. pork. He’s also a proponent of communicating the industry’s emphasis on animal health and the integration of technology to accomplish all these goals and improve production efficiency and animal care.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

The We Care ethical principles are very important to Brett and his farm. He thoroughly checks his pigs daily to ensure they receive the highest levels of care. He also emphasizes environmental sustainability on his farm. He recognizes sustainability as the greatest challenge among the We Care principles, but knows it is critical to the industry’s future.

Leadership Skills

Brett has a wealth of valuable leadership experience — including as a local 4-H leader — that has prepared him to lead at the National Pork Board. He has served as a spokesperson on behalf of the Colorado agriculture industry organizations and collaborated with the Colorado Ag Commission to advocate for farmers in his state. He is a level-headed leader, always looking out for the best interest of the group.

Communication Skills

Brett is an effective communicator. He has a knack for learning from past experiences and applying new knowledge in subsequent communication efforts. He integrates positive reinforcement into conversations to encourage those around him and is open and transparent in his communication.
Brett expresses himself well and communicates key themes and ideas with clarity and effectiveness.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Brett is committed to the pork industry and has a passion for being involved and contributing to the industry. He believes in the pork industry’s forward-thinking spirit, and he wants to be a part of evolving and continuously improving the industry. He shares the passion of other pork producers and is dedicated to moving the pork industry forward.

Robert Ruth, Pennsylvania

Biography

Mr. Robert Ruth is the past president for Country View Family Farms, a farrow-to-finish farm with 110,000 sows marketing 2,200,000 hogs annually. Ruth served as the president for Country View Farms for 20 years and now is the senior vice president for Clemens Food Group. He serves on the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Board of Directors. He has been an active member of PennAg and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Ruth is also the president of the board for Rays of Hope Ministry in Malawi and an active member of his church’s leadership council.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Bob Ruth’s knowledge of the industry and understanding of the opportunities and challenges we face is without question. Bob knows the technologies available to the industry and believes the industry should be proud of the advances it has made and their benefits to consumers. In addition, he believes the National Pork Board can do a better job of telling the industry’s story in a way that connects with the non-agriculture public.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

Bob understands the six We Care ethical principles and has worked throughout Clemens to ensure they are embodied in all of its work and activities. He is very focused on supporting the company’s expectation of producing safe food while taking care of their people and animals.

Leadership Skills

Bob is an empathetic leader, a skill he has honed leading numerous teams to achieve a common goal. He has strong reasoning and listening skills, especially in leading a team. He has worked with people for many years and, based on that experience, he is skilled in assembling teams and progressing together toward goals. He is outgoing and always looking to learn from new experiences.

Communication Skills

Bob is a strong communicator and takes learnings from past experiences and applies them in his everyday life. He can effectively work through conflict by slowing down and ensuring everyone understands the big picture and end goal.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Bob is passionate about selling, promoting and consuming pork. He has many connections to retailers and others in the industry and can use those to grow pork’s market share. He has a positive attitude and relishes the opportunity to promote and develop new products for pork on behalf of the National Pork Board.

Mark McLeod, South Carolina

Biography

Mr. Mark McLeod is the owner and operator of A & J Farms near Pinewood, South Carolina. A & J Farms is a wean-to-finish farm marketing 32,000 hogs annually. He also grows coastal Bermuda hay at A & J Farms. McLeod has served on the South Carolina Pork Board since 2009, including two terms as the chairman. He has been a long-time member of the South Carolina Farm Bureau. McLeod is a proud retired Army National Guard member, active in his church, the local fire department and multiple other community organizations.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Mark McLeod has served on the South Carolina Pork Board for over 10 years, a time during which he has gained experience with and grown his knowledge of many aspects of the pork industry. He believes the National Pork Board has been effective in its industry outreach on key topics like environmental sustainability, and it should continue and grow these efforts. He believes in the importance of sustainability in evolving the industry and enabling future generations to continue their families’ legacies.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

Mark works hard to protect the environment on his family’s farm. In addition, he puts a premium on tight biosecurity on his farm to ensure the health and safety of both animals and people. Of all six We Care ethical principles, Mark prioritizes food safety. He believes ensuring safety in the food he produces is the foundation of everything he does as a pork producer.

Leadership Skills

From his extensive work in leadership roles in the past, Mark has gained valuable experience working in collaborative environments. When challenges arise, he stays calm during conflict and approaches differences of opinion by first listening, then working with others to reach a consensus where a conflict once existed. He prioritizes the best interests of the entire team whenever collaborating with others.

Communication Skills

Mark served in the military for 20 years. That experience taught him the value of proper communication. He feels confident in his ability to communicate in ways that will resonate with others effectively. Even in challenging situations, Mark is able to articulate his thoughts and contribute to productive, meaningful discussion.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Mark has a passion for sharing the story of the pork industry and telling others about how their food is raised. He knows it is important for consumers to become knowledgeable about the food supply chain. He enjoys telling the story of pigs and the pork industry. He hopes to become a strong voice for the industry and strives to do everything he can to help pork producers.

Denise Mason, North Carolina

Biography

Ms. Denise Mason owns Goshen Farms, a 2,400-sow farrow-to-wean farm that markets 65,000 hogs annually. Goshen Farms is near Mount Olive, North Carolina. She currently serves on the North Carolina Pork Council and is a part of the Swine Management Advisory Committee at a local community college. Mason is a Pork Quality Assurance® Plus and Transport Quality Assurance® advisor in addition to being an Operation Main Street speaker.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Ms. Denise Mason believes part of the National Pork Board’s role is to inform producers about new technology and innovation, especially to those who otherwise lack access to such important information. She is a strong proponent of applying technology to improving sustainability and supporting efforts to protect the environment. Denise is well-connected in the industry and believes that the National Pork Board has a role in sharing information with producers about the programs that can help them in their day-to-day work.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

Through her strong personal advocacy, Denise exemplifies the We Care ethical principles in her everyday life. If elected to the National Pork Board, Denise says she will leverage her position to speak out on misinformation within the industry. She’s already shown skill in this type of activity; outside of her work at Maxwell Foods, she is an Operation Main Street speaker and advocate for the pork industry.

Leadership Skills

Through her work in the industry, Denise has developed valuable leadership skills, especially relating to her ability to collaborate with others. In conversation, she is patient and hears others out. She believes in listening to glean all team members’ perspectives, showing respect toward all parties involved and speaking with complete transparency. Denise is willing to listen in a team setting and is always open to hear other opinions and viewpoints.

Communication Skills

Denise understands the importance of communication. She’s skilled in how and what to communicate for the betterment of the overall pork industry. She strives to always learn from mistakes and continuously improve. She works hard at breaking down barriers between producers and consumers; she listens to concerns and then addresses them through education to share the story of today’s pork industry. Denise is a natural, creative communicator.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Denise has a passion for the pork industry, from working with the animals to advocating and sharing the industry’s story with consumers. She is committed to the industry, growing her skillset and experience, and helping others develop a strong understanding of the work producers do.

Richard Deaton, Ohio

Biography

Mr. Richard Deaton is a sales representative for PIC — a seedstock producer located in Tennessee. Deaton has been active on several statewide committees, including the Ohio Pork Council (OPC) since 2011. His work with OPC includes serving on the Executive Committee from 2015 to current, during the time on the committee as president for 2017–2018. Additionally, he served as a Pork Act Delegate in 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2019. Deaton is presently a board member for the National Pork Board. During his time on the National Pork Board, he has been very involved with numerous task forces.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Rich Deaton is knowledgeable about a broad range of topics within the pork industry. He is a big proponent of sharing the farmer’s story with consumers. Rich has identified foreign animal disease, recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and consumer messaging as the three most significant issues facing the pork industry.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

In his work with PIC, Rich has frequent interaction with producers on a daily basis. He works with producers to promote the value of National Pork Board programs and how the organization supports them and their operations. He has the producer’s best interest at heart. As a firm believer in the National Pork Board’s new strategic mission, Rich is an adamant supporter of the National Pork Board task forces’ work in the last year.

Leadership Skills

Rich has served on the National Pork Board for the past three years. He has held various leadership positions within the board, specifically at the task force level. He takes pride in being a part of the team and forging a brighter future for the industry. Rich naturally leads by example and enjoys helping teams work together to reach a consensus.

Communication Skills

Rich is knowledgeable about effective communication when discussing industry issues with producers. He has a strong background and experience that contribute to his ability to communicate effectively in his role. He’s skilled in connecting his current communication objectives with his experience as a National Pork Board member the past three years. He is committed to the goals of the board and is driven to help achieve them.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

He is passionate about the National Pork Board’s strategic mission and vision. He’s seen success in connecting with both producers and consumers, as well as communicating important information to address both groups’ concerns. A big part of his passion within the industry revolves around doing everything he can to help producers.

J. B. Chapman, Colorado

Biography

Mr. J. B. Chapman is the owner and operator of Legacy Genetics near Craig, Colorado. Legacy Genetics is a 16-sow farrow-to-finish and farrow-to-feeder pig farm marketing 320 hogs annually. Additionally, Legacy Genetics is a seedstock producer. Chapman has served on the Colorado Pork Producers Council since 2015. He has also served on numerous committees on the national level for National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council. He is involved with various youth organizations, such as the National Junior Swine Association and the National FFA Alumni Association. Chapman is also a member of Rotary International, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and is actively involved in his local church.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. J. B. Chapman understands many sides of the pork industry. He believes the National Pork Board has a role in conducting outreach to forge lasting connections between producers and consumers. He sees technology as a key tool in accomplishing that goal and knows industry-wide openness to innovation and technology adoption will help the industry evolve and move forward positively. He sees the National Pork Board as being on the cutting edge of that technological evolution to better the pork industry.

We CareSM Principles

J. B. understands the significance of the We Care ethical principles and the importance of building trust with consumers. Due in part to his farm’s location in arid Colorado, he believes two of the most challenging — yet most rewarding — principles are animal care and the environment. He works daily to ensure his farm embodies the We Care principles.

Leadership Skills

J. B. strives to be a problem solver when leading a group. He is genuinely interested in hearing all voices and concerns. When there is a difference of opinion, he is open-minded and asks questions to gain insight into all perspectives. He is a great team player, always ready to listen. J. B. has extensive leadership experience that makes him well-suited to work with and lead a wide array of people in collaborative settings.

Communication Skills

J. B. is willing to have hard conversations in order to communicate most effectively. From his experience also managing an auto repair business in his community, he has learned stronger communication skills to convey important messages to teams and individuals. He understands the importance of adequate, targeted training and preparation. J. B. is a strong communicator who is able to get his point across effectively.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

J. B. truly has a passion for feeding the world and advancing and evolving the pork industry. He sees many opportunities ahead for the industry and is excited about its future. He is proactive and sees the value in change. He focuses on those who the industry serves. J. B. has a vision to move the industry forward and is excited about building demand for pork.

Jeremy Burkett, Wyoming

Biography

Jeremy Burkett is the operator of a farrow-to-feeder farm at Casper College in Casper, Wyoming, that markets 25 pigs annually for 4-H and FFA projects. Jeremy is a full time professor of Animal Sciences at Casper College where he teaches and conducts research, with an emphasis on animal science and meat science. 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 and on the board of directors for the Wyoming Pork Producers Council. In addition, he is a Casper College livestock judging coach and a Wyoming 4-H youth leader.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Jeremy Burkett is a strong believer in the value of technology to the pork industry, namely improving its overall environmental sustainability in the future. He believes that National Pork Board should be a leader in leveraging technology to better communicate with producers about essential topics in the industry. As a professor and livestock judging coach at Casper College, he brings an educational perspective and understands the importance of keeping producers well-informed.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

Jeremy is focused on all the We Care principles, especially reaching out to the community and caring for the environment. In his work at Casper College, he provides students practical experience they can one day apply as members of the pork industry. His background and expertise in education make Jeremy uniquely qualified to contribute to National Pork Board educational efforts, especially in communicating the industry’s story to consumers.

Leadership Skills

Jeremy is an experienced leader with strengths in assembling teams around common goals and drawing upon team members’ strengths in achieving goals. He is outgoing and brings a positive attitude to a team. Jeremy believes that passion on all sides of an issue brings out healthy discussion and contributes great ideas toward accomplishing a common goal.

Communication Skills

As an educator, Jeremy understands communication on a deep level. He has a lot of experience collaborating with and unifying large groups of team members and uses various communication strategies and methods to convey his message best. He is always looking to learn and broaden his perspective on and experience with different topics.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Jeremy has been involved in the pork industry since a young age. Through his work in both the pork industry and education, he has developed a strong understanding of all sides of the industry. He also has a passion for developing young people into future agricultural leaders. He is committed to this industry and looking forward to contributing his knowledge and experience to the National Pork Board.

Pat Bane, Illinois

Biography

Mr. Pat Bane is co-owner and manager of Bane Family Pork, a 3,000-sow farrow-to-wean farm that markets 72,000 hogs annually. Bane Family Pork is located near Arrowsmith, Illinois. They also raise corn, soybeans and hay. Bane has been involved with various local level events through McLean County Pork Producers Association and state-level events through Illinois Pork Producers Association. As the 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, Bane has served in various capacities as an advocate for the pork industry around the country. He is very active in Illinois Farm Bureau activities and committees and various local organizations.

Nominating Committee Comments

Industry Knowledge

Mr. Pat Bane is very knowledgeable about and experienced in various aspects of the pork industry. He understands the importance of innovation and applying technology to overcome challenges like animal health issues and disease. He believes the National Pork Board’s role within the industry is to move technology forward with an emphasis on outreach and communication with producers. Pat has a great interest in the comfort of pigs and caring for the people in the industry.

We CareSM Ethical Principles

Pat takes the We Care ethical principles seriously. He embodies them every day in his life and work on his farm. Pat sees a significant role for the National Pork Board in communicating important issues to producers and consumers through many different platforms. He sees that effort culminating in communication that can foster improved public trust, especially on the local community level.

Leadership Skills

Pat has a variety of leadership experiences. Quick to think of other team members when working in collaborative environments, Pat works to enable others to contribute best to the greater good. He is continually improving and working to hone his leadership skills while developing the same skills in others. When conflict arises in a group, he strives to build trust within the team, understand team members’ challenges and positions, then work toward solutions. He listens first, then works to solve problems.

Communication Skills

As 2018 Pig Farmer of the Year, Pat has spoken to many groups and refined his communication to be more effective and impactful. He understands the importance of communicating with consumers. When an issue arises, he assumes a leadership role to help forge a path forward while effectively communicating goals and outcomes to everyone involved.

Attitude, Passion and Commitment

Pat is passionate about the pork industry and wants to contribute more of his time and efforts to advance and evolve the industry through strong communication and new connections with consumers.