It’s certainly been a year filled with ups and downs, said Mike Haag, president of the Illinois Pork Producers. Between trade challenges, rumors of impeachment, African swine fever and more, Haag’s year serving the IPPA as president has certainly not been boring.
During the IPPA Annual Meeting, Haag commended the pork industry’s commitment to domestic marketing efforts. He also noted IPPA’s aggressive move to put $30,000 into the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s efforts in South Korea.
“This has been a great investment for our organization,” Haag said. “U.S. exports to South Korea broke records in 2018. Our board is committed to another $50,000 next year to boost exports to South Korea.”
ASF was a popular topic at producer meetings last fall. Although ASF has helped our market short-term but could be absolutely devastating if it reaches our shores, Haag said adding that the organization’s staff and board have been extremely active and prepared for what might happen if it comes home.
Perhaps his greatest satisfaction from leading the IPPA in 2018 was being a part of IPPA’s continued effort to serve the hungry in Illinois.
“Feeding people is what we are all about as pork producers,” Haag said. “Last year, IPPA provided 96,000 pounds of pork to food banks across Illinois. That’s up to 721,000 pounds of pork over the last 10 years.”
He knows the organization will be in good hands as fellow pork producer, Pam Janssen of Minonk, takes over the reins this week.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to represent this organization,” Haag said. “Our staff does an outstanding job and makes our board look really good. Team Pork is always ready to help you and promote our phenomenal producers.”
During the annual meeting, Janssen shared her plan to continue marketing pork both in Illinois and abroad. She is also interested in finding creative ways to get young leaders more involved in the industry.
“We must stand together as one to keep our industry viable,” Janssen said. “As only the third woman to represent Illinois Pork Producers, in this role, I have very big shoes to fill and I am ready to fill them!”
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