(CLIVE, Iowa) - A dedicated pork producing couple from Plymouth County has been named the winner of the Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2017 Pork All-American Award.
Ben and Janelle Johnson of Ireton received the prestigious award last night during the 46th annual Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines. The Pork All American Award is the highest honor an individual Iowa pig farmer can receive from IPPA. A producer must be under the age of 40 and a Master Pork Producer to be eligible.
The Johnsons are part owners and operators of JB Century Farm. The farm is owned by Ben and Janelle and Ben's parents. Ben uses the swine production experience he gained as an adolescent and in college to manage the family's two, 4,800-head wean-to-finish buildings. Since 2009, Ben and Janelle have been contract growers for Wakefield Pork in Gaylord, Minnesota and Ben has been raising pigs for eleven years.
Ben is the primary caretaker of the pigs and manages treatment and care, ordering feed and marketing. Ben hires seasonal employees to assist with sorting and loading market pigs, as well as vaccinations and power washing.
The South Dakota State University ag business major and his father have 650 acres of corn and soybeans in addition to the hogs. Ben started a custom manure hauling business several years ago and applies about six million gallons each year.
Janelle studied horticulture at South Dakota State and managed a greenhouse in the Twin Cities. She now works for Plymouth County Extension and assists with the farm's bookkeeping and payroll.
Conservation is important to the Johnson family. In addition to applying manure nutrients from their own livestock in accordance with their manure management plan, Ben incorporates a nitrogen inhibitor with manure application. Their two-barn site is aesthetically pleasing as trees surround the facilities to increase site appearance and help break up odor.
Ben and Janelle are extremely involved in their community. Ben is currently the treasurer of the Plymouth County Pork Producers as well as a member of the Plymouth County Fair Board. He is an active Farm Bureau member and vice president of the Plymouth County Farm Bureau. He also is involved in the State Young Farmer Advisory Board. Janelle helps coordinate the county pork producers' Little Miss Pigtails and Pork Queen programs and she is member of the Le Mars Ag Chamber Board and chair of the Le Mars United Way. They also have been a big part of the local 4-H Adopt-a-Pig Program that enables youth who haven't grown up on a farm to raise a pig for the local county fair.
The Johnsons represent a core of dedicated Iowa pork producers who have recognized the importance of industry advocacy and dedication to the We Care ethical principles of pork production.
The IPPA Pork All-American award was established in 1970 to honor young producers who have established themselves as community leaders and successful and dedicated businesspersons.