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Webster County pork producers honor local chef

By Staff | Mar 18, 2011

DeWayne Newell, of Webster County Farm Bureau, sits with a few of trophies that were auctioned Monday night during the county’s annual pork banquet. The trophies will be awarded to young livestock exhibitors during the county fair this summer.

FORT DODGE – When members of the Webster County Pork Producers sat down to the meal of their annual banquet Monday night, they were treated to an award-winning dish.

The main entree was a pork loin, stuffed with pork sausage, wrapped in bacon. This recipe won the People’s Choice award last summer during the Iowa State Fair in the Taste of Pork Elegance and won 3rd place overall among 12 chefs.

It was the second time in three years that chef Kevin Moore, of The Cellar, brought home hardware from the event. He won in 2008 and that dish was served to the membership during the 2009 banquet.

Gregg Hora, president of the Webster County Pork Producers, honored Moore with the organization’s Hog Wild award following the meal.

Holding his plaque, Moore told the audience that he credited pork producers for the honor.

Kevin Moore, award-winning chef.

“You guys give me a good product to work with,” he said. Noting that the restaurant is known more for its steaks, he said the new pork items on the menu “are selling themselves.”

Pork: Be Inspired

Kelly Sheets, director of producer outreach for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, was on hand to talk to explain the industry’s new slogan, “Pork: Be Inspired.”

A short video showed how people who already use pork in their diets are creating unique, flavorful and nutritious meals and the slogan encourages them to be even more inspired.

Both Sheets and Allison Swanson, director of youth programs for IPPA, acknowledged that when the new slogan was introduced, even the organization’s members were skeptical, at first – until they saw the video.

Kelly Sheets, director of producer outreach for the Iowa Pork Producers Association

“It was (originally) a little confusing to them,” Sheets told Farm News afterward, “but once the message is shown, and hen they figure out the target audience, which is medium to heavy pork users, they see the slogan really fits.”

Mike Magruder, of Manson, who works on Hora’s pork operation, said the new slogan also means to him to encourage the younger generations to “stay home and raise pork.”

Hora said that although there 40 to 50 active pork operations in Webster County, they employ 400 to 500 people throughout the year, “and that doesn’t include the trucking companies who haul pigs and feed.”

PQA-Plus audits

Sheets also updated the membership on upcoming national PQA-Plus audits and a bill in the Iowa Legislature to make it illegal for anyone to falsify their credentials to gain access onto farms.

Alison Swanson, director of youth programs for IPPA.

Concerning the audits, he said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and a national third-party auditing firm, Validus, will be conducting 90 spot inspections around the country on PQA-Plus certified operations.

“They want to evaluate the effectiveness of the program,” Sheets said.

About 30 of those inspections will be in Iowa, Sheets said, due to the intensity of pork farming in Iowa.

He said the inspections will be random and carried out this summer.

Youth exchange

Swanson told the group that a youth exchange between young people involved in Iowa and Texas swine operations, will tour swine operations together starting in Texas, and moving north through Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa, ending up at the World Pork Expo this June in Des Moines.

The exchange, for incoming high school juniors and seniors and just-graduated seniors, is designed to show the young people how pigs are raised in other states. There will be 12 participants from both states on the exchange.

Volunteers sought

Hora also called for members to help with a slate of pork grilling activities through the year in Webster County and at state events. He said that last year, they grilled for the first time inside the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility while offenders there held their own relay or life event.

He said the county organization will participate in that event again in 2011.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, Ext. 453 or at kersh@farm-news.com.

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