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Association News: Indiana and Iowa Pork Producers

Indiana Pork Announces Summer Interns

Mackenzie Hodupp is a senior at Iowa State University from Kokomo, Ind. She is majoring in Agricultural Studies and minoring in Animal Science. Mackenzie recently completed a Japan and Thailand Pork Industry study abroad trip. 

She was a 10 year 4-H member and involved in FFA. After graduating from high school, she judged for the Joliet Junior College Livestock Judging team and transferred to Iowa State University after obtaining her associate's degree. 

Mackenzie will work in Youth Education and Strategic Outreach. She will assist Chad Martin in planning and executing educational outreach events.

“I am most excited to meet new people and attend different events,” said Hodupp. “I hope to grow relations in the swine industry and broaden my horizons in commodity pork production as well.”
Zoe Whitehead is a senior at Purdue University, studying Agricultural Communications and Political Science. She is a College of Agriculture Ambassador and an Agricultural Future of America Delegate. She is from Winchester, Ind. 

“I didn't grow up with an agricultural background,” said Whitehead. “It was through FFA and 4-H that made me realize I wanted to bridge the gap between non-agriculturalists and the ag industry.”

Zoe will work in the Communications department with Jeanette Merritt. She will assist in the development of consumer and producer social media initiatives, Indiana State Fair events, and the marketing of Indiana Pork.

Zoe looks forward to networking opportunities and learning about pork policy. She is excited about the opportunities at Indiana Pork that will allow her to strengthen her communication skills and learn more about the pork industry.

Iowa Pork Producers Association Announces Employee Updates

Brielle Smeby becomes the new Producer Outreach Director. Smeby, a 2023 graduate of Iowa State University with a major in Animal Science, brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for the agriculture industry to her new role. She spent the past year as IPPA’s Program and Events Manager. 

Having grown up on her parents' nursery-to-finish farm in Klemme, Iowa, Smeby has been actively involved in various aspects of pork production, including showing pigs and working on her family’s operation. Smeby’s upbringing instilled in her a strong desire to contribute to the agricultural community.

“I want to use this position to bring more producers into the association,” Smeby says. “It would be great to have more producers connect with IPPA and utilize the resources we have. The association is here for any questions they have about their farm or industry issues. Reach out to us. We are here to support you and help you.” 

As the Producer Outreach Director, she oversees membership and county association relationships for IPPA, and works with the Iowa Pork Alliance. Smeby also coordinates the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy, the Master Pork Awards program, and IPPA’s tradeshow presence at the World Pork Expo and Iowa Pork Congress.  

While attending Iowa State University, Smeby interned with the Iowa Pork Producers Association during the summer of 2021. That experience was eye opening for her and showed her many ways to get involved in the industry. 

“It was fun to see the different roles of the staff here at Iowa Pork,” Smeby says. “After that internship, I grew to appreciate all the work the association does for producers, so it allowed me to realize working in the pork industry didn’t necessarily mean you had to be in the barn yourself.” 

“Brielle has been an important part of our team at IPPA, and she will transition very well into this new role,” says IPPA CEO Pat McGonegle. “Her background fuels her dedication to the pork industry and she is devoted to supporting county organizations and their members.” 

Cory Van Gilst, the previous Producer Outreach Director, has transitioned into the role of Strategic Information Director for IPPA. Van Gilst will be instrumental in integrating a new membership system and assisting with various organizational functions.

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