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Who is Minnesota's Pork Promoter of the Year?

Nancy Hovel’s pork promotion efforts go back to the early 1990s when she first started to help organize the Goodhue County Pork Producers Food Stand at the Goodhue County Fair. Today, she has overseen the huge undertaking for nearly 30 years and is well-known around the county and surrounding areas for her countless hours of giving towards the pork industry and all of agriculture. Hovel’s ability to advocate for pork and unify all, from those in her own community to the public alike, is what earned her this year’s Pork Promoter of the Year award. 

A Ripple Effect

Growing up in Hastings, Minn., Hovel did not have a background in agriculture. Her husband grew up helping his uncle on his dairy, and after marrying Gary in 1980, the couple purchased their farm in 1986 near Cannon Falls. While raising their three children on the farm, the Hovel family was and continues to be united by agriculture. Each child continues to live near the farm to raise their own children, with seven total grandchildren forming the next generation. The Hovels farm pigs, cattle and crops as well as owning Hovel Farms Trucking.

Hovel became involved in 4-H when her children were of age, volunteering as the club’s Cloverbud leader. From there, peers noticed her leadership and generosity, encouraging her to volunteer in more ways than she could have ever imagined. Hovel was approached by a founding member of the Cannon Valley Fair Board of Directors asking if she would be interested in serving on the board. She has now been an active board member for 25 years, coordinating all the open class exhibits including livestock shows, horticulture, baking and much more. She also creates and publishes the fair handbook. 

Hovel was drawn to the county fair atmosphere because of her experience seeing youth and families grow, leading to her involvement at the pork producers stand. While her children grew more active in 4-H, Hovel spent many hours at the Goodhue County Fair during fair week. She began helping at the Goodhue County Pork Producers Stand nearly 30 years ago, which has grown into the ultimate destination for delicious pork and good company thanks to Hovel’s leadership and passion for the pork industry and for others.  

“Though her name is really Nancy, most in Goodhue County just call her ‘Ma,’ and no other name could be more fitting to describe a woman who takes in all people, both young and old, and cares about them as if they were her own kids,” commended Madison Hokanson, Goodhue County 4-H alumni and fellow pork producer.

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