Iowa counties with organized and active local pork groups were recognized at the 2021 Iowa Pork Congress for their 2020 efforts to grow membership and increase local activities.
Marv Van Den Top of Boyden, the chairman of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) membership/leadership committee, reminded local leaders that “The Iowa Pork Producers Association is only as strong as the county organizations and their producer members across the state. Membership is truly the backbone of our organization.”
IPPA membership in 2020 was stable at more than 4500 members. In addition, a new membership group at IPPA, the Iowa Pork Alliance, completed its first year recruitment at 45 members. The Iowa Pork Alliance is a membership group for allied businesses that have relationships with pig farmers on a regional or statewide basis.
County membership accomplishments
The membership award for most county members went to Washington County, which reported 394 members. This is the 15th consecutive year that the county held that title. The county added 40 new members to its rolls in 2020, also earning it recognition as the county with the most new members.
The organized county with the largest percentage of membership growth was Jefferson. There were 24 other county organizations (not including Washington and Jefferson) that also increased membership over their goal level.
Those counties include: Adair, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, and Clayton. Also, Dallas, Delaware, Fayette, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, and Howard. Finally, Ida, Lee, Lyon, Plymouth, Poweshiek, Sioux, Tama, and Webster.
County Involvement Winners
In addition to growing membership, IPPA also recognized 19 county pork groups that held events to create an active presence in their communities during 2020. The County Involvement Awards were measured through a points system on activities to promote the pork industry. Such activities could include grilling at events, supporting youth activities, advertising in local papers, and other pork promotions.
Each county with 2,000 points or more received $500 from IPPA to help support their activities. The top five counties of this group received an additional $500 for their achievements for a total of $1000.
Those top five counties (listed first through fifth) earning the $1000 award were Lyon, Delaware, Buchanan, Story, and Sioux.
The remaining counties (listed alphabetically) are Adair, Boone, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Grundy, Hamilton, Ida, Jones, Kossuth, Plymouth, Tama, and Washington.
“It is exciting to see so many counties participating in promotional and educational event across the state,” Van Den Top said.
Promotion and Education Winners
Key activity areas for the Pork Checkoff, which all pork producers pay, are promotion and education. “County outreach took on a different look in 2020,” said Stan Cavner of Iowa Falls. Cavner is a co-chair of IPPA’s promotion committee.
“Activities normally focused on promoting pork instead focused on helping those in need. The ‘We Care’ principle of caring for our communities were shown in activities exemplifying the heart and soul of pork producers even at a time when they had their own on-farm struggles,” he said.
Each year, this IPPA promotion committee selects the top county promotion programs and activities.
Story County Pork Producers got the nod this year with a program that was put together in just a week to get pork distributed to 2000 Story County families in need. That included raising $3600 from pig farmers and allied businesses in the county to process pigs, as well as receiving a donation of 4,000 pounds of pork from Pineridge Farms. The pork was distributed through food banks, churches, schools and other outreach programs in the county.
For their top place, Story County Pork Producers received a $300 credit for promotional and educational materials about pork.
Other counties nominated for this award received $50 credit for promotion and educational materials. Those counties were Buchanan, Delaware, and Plymouth.
IPPA President Dennis Liljedahl told the county leaders at the event “Your county and local efforts are the backbone of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. The work we see are examples of what one member or one collective group of people can accomplish.”