Iowa’s Tentinger new pork board appointee
By JOLENE STEVENS
LE MARS – Northwest Iowa Pork Producer Bill Tentinger said he was completing spring planting chores when he received the official word of his appointment by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the National Pork Board.
He said the late-spring planting push had given him little time to assess the wide range of responsibilities he and the 14 other board members will face on behalf of pork producers following their swearing in this week at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.
His new duties will begin July 1.
Tentinger, a past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, said he looks forward to bringing what he’s learned at the state level and from his own experiences as a 20,000-plus hog finisher.
“My goal as a board member at the national level,” Tentinger said, “is to be able to bring to the table my own grassroots perspective of pork production as a producer rather than that of an individual who works for a large organization and is in it as a carrier.
“Pork production has been my life and always will be. As I grow older, I will still have the passion for the industry unlike someone who will retire and exit the industry at that time.
“I think it’s important that smaller, more traditional producers are represented at the national level and believe my exposure to operations of all sizes can help me understand the industry need for both the small and larger producer.”
As for challenges facing the pork industry, Tentinger said the biggest is informing consumers what producers do and why.
“I think the Pork Board has done a good job of addressing this,” he said, “but we still need to take this message out there.
“We have just thought consumers knew we were doing things right. I don’t think we will ever really be able to stop promoting what we do as producers every day.”
Although he said he initially questioned the board’s new Be Inspired logo, replacing the previous The Other White Meat, he now sees the new labeling a good fit.
“Pork is so versatile,” Tentinger said, “and this new approach can and will inspire consumers to try different ways to enjoy our quality pork products,” he said.
When asked if he has mentors that the credits for any successes, he said, “I consider any pork producer I cross paths with a mentor.
“I’ve never been afraid to listen, and to learn what others do and to adapt their ideas into my operation or thinking.”
Additional new pork board members include Dr. David Newman, Fargo, North Dakota; Pat FitzSimmons, Dassel, Minnesota; Gary L. Asay, Osco, Illinois; and Kris Scheller-Stewart, King City, Missouri. Carl J. Link, Fort Recovery, Ohio, was reappointed to his board position.
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