(CLIVE, Iowa) - The Iowa Pork Producers Association has selected a pork producing couple from Crawford County as 2017 Master Pork Producers.
Ralph and Becky Dorale of Charter Oak received the coveted brass belt buckle, emblematic of the award, from IPPA at the Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines last night. A brief multi-media presentation of the Dorale's production efforts also was shown.
The Dorales own and operate a diversified crop and livestock operation. Ralph notes that they always had pigs on the farm growing up. They started with a farrow-to-finish operation until the market downturn. They sold the sows and began buying feeder pigs. In 1996, Ralph and Becky built a 3,300-head feeder-to-finish facility to contract for Smithfield Hog Productions.
During these years, their two, high school-aged sons, Adam and Alex, began their own custom manure application business. The boys later sold the business to take expanded roles on the farm. In 2009, the Dorales converted their site to wean-to-finish, finishing 6,600 market hogs annually. Today, Ralph and his sons oversee a cow/calf operation while Becky and their daughters-in-law manage and care for the pigs.
For 35 years, the Dorales have been utilizing no till practices on their crops and they've used cover crops on a large majority of their acres over the past seven years. Ralph notes that he can harvest more feedstuffs from the cover crops in the form of ryelage for the cattle than if they were to chop corn silage on those acres. The Dorales utilize manure from their livestock operation to fertilize the crops in accordance with their manure management plan.
While staying busy on the farm, they still find time to volunteer and donate to their community. They are active church members where Ralph serves as an elder and a trustee and Becky as treasurer. Ralph also is a past Crawford County Pork Producers officer. The Dorales helped with renovations and expansions to the Crawford County Hospital and new 4-H Cattle barn at the fairgrounds. Outside their community, they are members of IPPA and the Iowa Corn Growers and Iowa Cattlemen's associations. In 2016, the Dorales were winners of "The Way We Live" award at the Iowa State Fair.
Nominated by their neighbors and peers, Master Pork Producers are recognized for their innovation, attention to quality, efficiency and production records within their farm enterprise. They are considered industry leaders who are committed to producing the highest quality pork products. Their operations are environmentally sound, they care about the livestock, are good neighbors and active in their community.
IPPA and Iowa State University have carefully selected Master Pork Producers every year since 1942.