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Finalists for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year announced

Four finalists vying for the title

By Diego Flammini,

Four farmers representing the states of Iowa, Ohio and Indiana have been announced as the finalists for the National Pork Board’s new award, America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

"The four finalists represent the diverse pork industry in the United States," said National Pork Board President Derrick Sleezer, a farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. "They all have shown a focus on environmental sustainability, animal welfare and continuous improvement."


The farmers, Steve Kerns and Marti Knoblock from Iowa, Keith Schoettmer from Indiana and Lauren Schwab from Ohio have dedicated themselves to raising healthy, happy pigs using the We Care principles.

The National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and state pork organizations started the We Care initiative to encourage farmers and employees to use best practices when caring for and raising pigs. Some of the practices include:

  • Producing safe food
  • Promoting animal well-being
  • Protecting public health
  • Giving back to the community

Until Thursday, September 10th, the public can vote for their favorite finalist. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 7th.

Brief Finalist Biographies:

Marti Knoblock – From Rock Rapids, Iowa, he co-owns GMC farms with his brothers. The farm raises pigs in modern slatted, curtain-sided barns equipped with deep pits. The farm markets about 23,000 pigs each year.

Steve Kerns – From Clearfield, Iowa, he runs Kerns Farms, which initially started out as a 4-H project. Along with his wife and two sons, the farm markets about 10,000 pigs annually.

Lauren Schwab – From Somerville, Ohio, she works on a 230-acre farrow-to-wean farm that houses 1,100 sows. The sows produce about 30,000 piglets each year which are then sold to other farmers for finishing.

Keith Schoettmer – From Tipton, Indiana, he founded Schoettmer Prime Pork in 1987. The farrow-to-finish farm raises about 22,000 pigs annually.

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