The National Pork Board (NPB) has honored Patrick Bane, a pig farmer from Arrowsmith, Illinois, as its 2018 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year award, which recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced. Bane achieved the highest combined score from a third-party judging panel and online voting.
“We are pleased to have Patrick represent America’s pig farmers. He embodies the very best in pig farming,” said Steve Rommereim, NPB president and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “It’s important that we tell today’s consumers how we raise their food in an ethical and transparent way. Patrick’s interest in sharing his farm’s story, as well as putting a face on today’s pig farming, will help us reach this goal.”
Raising pigs has been a lifelong passion for Bane, whose family has been raising pigs for three generations, says NPB. Bane raises 74,000 pigs on his farm in central Illinois, where he focuses on protecting public health, hiring the best people and maintaining herd health.
“It’s our responsibility to show the public that we are doing the right things to care for our animals and keep them healthy,” Bane said. “We need to foster an increased understanding about how food is raised using today’s modern technology. It’s not only good for us as farmers, but it’s good for consumers. You can’t drive that point home enough. We have a lot of good, positive stories to share.”
Bane was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year following a third-party audit of his on-farm practices and after taking part in a series of written and oral interviews by subject-matter experts. He has achieved excellence in all aspects of pig farming, including animal care, environmental stewardship, employee work environment and outstanding community service.
The panel of judges, who met in late August with the four finalists, were Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Sarah Hendren, RDN, nutrition and quality assurance manager at Culver’s; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; J. Scott Vernon, professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Cal Poly; and Leon Sheets, 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year from Ionia, Iowa.