It’s safe to say that Preston native Craig Mensink knows his stuff. Mensink has been in the pork industry for two decades now and was recently presented with the 2017 Minnesota Pork Distinguished Service Award.
“It has been a true privilege to help Minnesota pig farmers have a voice,” Mensink said.
Mensink first began working with the pork industry in the mid-nineties with a group of southeast Minnesota farmers who served on different state committees, representing their counties.
“We built friendships with the people we served with. Our families grew up together at industry events,” said Mensink. “We became a pork industry family, and it was an honor to serve alongside those men and women.”
Mensink serves on four different committees, including the state Promotion and Image Committee starting in 2002, the Pork Congress Committee from 2012, and the National Domestic Marketing Committee and the National Trade Committee, both from 2013.
In 2004, Mensink was elected as a Minnesota Pork Board director and began serving as the board’s president in 2006. From 2012-2015, he served on the National Pork Board, as well.
“My service afforded me the opportunity to meet pig farmers from across the nation, work with talented and passionate staff and gain a better appreciation for the complexities of our business and the administration of a checkoff program,” noted Mensink.
Mensink had the opportunity to take part in “The Other White Meat Tour,” during which time he visited five race tracks across the country. He also has been able to participate in Operation Main Street presentations and has visited school classes to discuss the benefits of pork.
“It takes a lot of work to get rid of one bad vibe,” Mensink pointed out.
While Mensink is deeply involved in the pork industry, his biggest commitment is to his family, his faith, and his farm. Along with his wife Pam and their son-in-law Chad Persons, Mensink raises corn, soybeans, and pigs on their farm outside of Preston. The family is a shareholder in the Riverdale Sow Coop, where Mensink serves as president and has since its beginning in 1996.
Mensink and his wife have three children and three grandchildren, with another one on the way, and have worked hard to instill a love and appreciation for agriculture in them.
“Whether it is farming or life, no one can do it all alone,” said Mensink. “It is important to support others and give back to those around you. We all need a support system at times in our lives.”
Mensink gives tirelessly of himself to the pork industry and is a enthusiastic and passionate leader.
“What we do is bigger than any one person,” said Mensink. “This is about creating opportunity for the next generation of farmers and I am truly appreciative that I have had the opportunity to do my part.”