40 Under 40: Erin Brenneman brimming with passion

Editor's note: Farm Journal Media's 40 Under 40 program recognizes young leaders in agriculture who will be instrumental in meeting the 2050 challenge of feeding a growing global population. Up-and-coming leaders from every segment of agriculture have been and are being honored through this program. PORK Network is proud to have had four pork industry winners recognized in the 2015 40 Under 40 program. Veterinarian Dr. Aaron Lower and Sherrie Webb with the National Pork Board were recognized in the PORK Network January-February issue. This month, two outstanding individuals who are directly involved in pork production are featured.

Erin Brenneman, 33, is one of the pork industry's rising stars. Her presence on social media coupled with an undeniable passion for pigs has propelled her to new heights as an agricultural advocate.

Brenneman isn't your average pig farmer. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, she met her future husband while attending Iowa State University to study animal science. They were married 11 years ago and haven't looked back since. Her background as a former city girl gives her a unique insight of the pork industry.

"I moved to my husband's family farm and realized that there was an entire world that I never thought about when I went to the grocery store - agriculture," she said. "I'm just as interested in it today as I was 11 years ago when I first set foot on the farm."

Brenneman now works as a day-one-care/farrowing specialist at Brenneman Pork Inc., a multi-site farrow-tofinish operation founded by her husband's family in 1981.

Brenneman's mother-in-law, Char Brenneman, described Erin as "passionate," with a compelling story that truly "resonates with consumers."

Brenneman's impact on the industry goes far beyond the farrowing barn. In 2014, she was named one of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance's "Faces of Farming and Ranching" winners. Brenneman also travels across the country speaking to both consumers and producers.

She has become a vocal "agvocate" on social media and has worked with industry organizations to bring groups of "mommy bloggers" to farm. The positive experiences these non-farm bloggers have by seeing pork production firsthand helps dispel the myths they may have about agriculture. Of course, this engagement isn't surprising to anyone who knows Brenneman. "I am passionate about sharing the story of agriculture and showing anyone who is interested what we do every day," she said.

Turn to the article on page 28 to learn more about her role in the pork industry, highlighted in a recent video celebrating the women of Real Pig Farming.

On the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, Brenneman is excited for the opportunity.

"I want to help break through the clutter of misinformation to make sure farmers are the ones who have the voice about farming," Brenneman said.

She added, "I firmly believe that people should not fear their food choices and should be informed honestly. We are proud of what we do here, and we aren't afraid to open our doors to show how we work every single day."