Several local residents involved in the pork industry have been honored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association at the Iowa Pork Congress held recently in Des Moines.
Four men from across Iowa were nominated for the state’s Hog Wild Award, with Tony Ries of Delaware County named the state winner (pictured). Ries, who is from Ryan, is an active pig farmer that has put in countless hours as the pork superintendent of the Delaware County Fair, as well as being a swine project leader. But the Delaware County Pork Producers say he goes above and beyond working with youth interested in swine. He also takes pigs to schools so all students can learn more about pigs and their role in Iowa’s everyday life.
Travis Hansen of Jones County, who is from Wyoming, was among the four Hog Wild Award nominees – he was a winner in his own county. Hansen supports all the Jones County Pork Producer events, including the Porker Ride, RAGBRAI activities, and grilling.
Meanwhile, two local women have been named co-winners of the state’s Belle Ringer Award – Shelby Hawkins of Buchanan County and Kristin Oberbroeckling of Clayton County.
Hawkins, who is from Independence, is focused on education activities in her county, including a Pen Pals program that reaches 480 students, and writing newsletters for a six-part “Flat Aggie” series. For adults, Hawkins creates social media posts for the Pork FarmChat, which is a live and virtual field trip to a pig barn. Altogether, she reaches 7,000 people through her promotion of pig farming.
Oberbroeckling, who is from Garnavillo, is credited with spearheading and driving the effort to fundraise and build a swine and sheep barn at the Clayton County fairgrounds. She also promotes pork through a cookoff at the fair, as well as ham and food donation giveaways.
Mary Clemen of Delaware County and Abby Inglis of Jones County were recognized as Belle Ringer Award winners on their county level. Clemen, who is from Manchester, may never have been a pork producer, but she has been an active griller representing Delaware County Pork Producers for more than 30 years at local events, Iowa Hawkeye football games, and at the Iowa State Fair. The group says “she has literally grilled tons of pork.” And Inglis, who is from Wyoming, coordinates the Porker Rides through Jones County so community members can learn more about pig production. She also works at improving hog shows in the area and works at pork grillings.
photo of Tony Ries courtesy of IPPA