DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on its commitment to grow consumer trust in all aspects of U.S. pork production, the National Pork Board announced an expert judging panel that brings a new, broad-based and transparent approach to selecting its first-ever America's Pig Farmer of the YearSM.
Members of the five-member panel include Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association; Carlos Saviani, vice president of the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) U.S. food team; Mitzi Dulan, a registered dietitian and nationally recognized nutrition and wellness expert to the Kansas City Royals; Chris Soules, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa, and television star from The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars; and Dr. Jodi Sterle, an associate professor of animal science at Iowa State University and nationally known youth advisor in livestock exhibition.
"We are very pleased to have such a diverse and impressive group of experts to judge the finalists in the very first America's Pig Farmer of the Year Award," said Derrick Sleezer, National Pork Board president and pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. "It was important to our farmer leaders that we create a unique judging panel that was not only objective, but brought a whole new level of diversity of views to the table. And with this group, we think we accomplished that goal."
Looking forward to the finalist judging slated for Sept. 1, Ganzert said, "As an animal lover and the leader of the country's first national humane organization, I am honored to have been asked to serve as a judge for America's Pig Farmer of the Year. American Humane Association celebrates all those, including our nation's farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely. Today, more than ever it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right. I look forward to learning about these farmers who are working to give America's families food that is safe, affordable, abundant and in line with their values."
Joining Ganzert on the judging panel will be WWF's Saviani, who said, "I'm really excited for the opportunity to participate in this new award and to learn more about how the pork industry and pig farmers are concerned, dealing with and addressing sustainability."
The entire expert panel of judges will gather in Chicago to fulfill their duties. They will judge an on-farm video produced at each of the four finalists' farms and then conduct an in-person interview with each one. The public can view each finalist's video and cast its vote for its favorite farmer from Sept. 1 through 10 by going to www.americaspigfarmer.com. The final winner will be announced Oct. 7.
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management.
For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.
SOURCE National Pork Board