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Fillmore County pork farmer Craig Mensink attends National Pork Forum

Fri, Mar 19th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Preston, Minn., pork farmer Craig Mensink (left) discusses issues with other delegates who attended National Pork Forum, the annual meeting of state pork associations and the Pork Checkoff. Mensink was elected by delegates to serve on the National Pork Boards executive board.

Minnesota's presence was visible throughout the 2010 National Pork Forum earlier this month in Kansas City, Mo. National Pork Forum is the annual meeting of state pork associations and the Pork Checkoff.

The meeting was attended by 141 voting delegates representing 39 states and U.S. pork importers. Minnesota had 12 delegates representing the state's pork farmers, including Craig Mensink of Preston.

The delegates were selected at the Minnesota Pork Board (MPB) annual meeting and were then formally appointed as Pork Act Delegates by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. All pork producers who pay into the mandatory Pork Checkoff are eligible to be Pork Act Delegate candidates.

"The state delegates' duty at Pork Forum is to provide direction on Pork Checkoff funded promotion, research and consumer programs," said MPB President Bill Crawford of Fairmont.

"I believe we were well represented by our delegates," Crawford said. "They contributed a great deal to discussions. Minnesota brought forward an advisement for discussion by the delegates, we had two individuals elected by the delegates to serve in leadership positions and we had Minnesota pork producers who serve on national committees speak before the delegate body."

Forum highlights included Mensink's election to a three-year term on the 15-member National Pork Board Executive Board. Mensink, who has served in several state leadership roles, including MPB president, will begin his official board member duties following formal USDA approval. Mensink will join Karen Richter of Montgomery, Minn., as a national board member.

Delegates also elected Waseca, Minn., pork producer Kim Balfe to the nominating committee. Balfe also begins her three-year term following USDA approval. The nominating committee interviews and recommends candidates for the national board.

The delegate body also recognized National Hog Farmer magazine editor Dale Miller, of Hampton, Minn., with the Pork Checkoff Distinguished Service Award and acknowledged pork producers Monica and Brandon Schafer of Goodhue, Minn., for achieving the National Environmental Steward Award.

Pork producers and importers contribute 40 cents of every $100 of sales to the Pork Checkoff. That money supports pork promotional consumer campaigns, web sites for producers, consumers and foodservice, and research into animal welfare, food safety, swine health, environment and other topics.

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