(CLIVE, Iowa) - A Lyon County pork producing couple has been presented with the 2017 Master Pork Producer Award by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
IPPA presented Ross and Amber Kooiker of George with the coveted brass belt buckle, emblematic of the award, at the Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines last night. The honor included a brief multi-media presentation of the couple's pork operation.
Ross and Amber Kooiker own and operate a diversified farming operation, alongside Ross's brother, Nolan. The family produces 14,000 pigs per year while raising crops on 900 acres.
Ross got his start raising pigs as a high school FFA member who had swine fair projects. By the time he headed off to Iowa Lakes Community College, he owned about 1,000 head of pigs. He returned home after college to farm full-time and help grow the operation.
Today, Ross and Nolan work together making sure all pigs are taken care of while Amber is kept busy with their three boys. They own a 2,400-head nursey to start and house the weaned pigs for the first eight weeks. The pigs are then moved to finishing barns to be fed out to market weight.
Ross and Amber also own shares in Alliance Family Farms, a 5,600-head Pipestone System sow unit in South Dakota. They receive 2,400 pigs every nine weeks from the sow farm. They market their hogs and through Premier Pork Marketing in Sioux Center. A majority of their pigs end up at JBS in Worthington, Minnesota.
The Kooikers and their three children are active in their church and community and Ross is president of the Lyon County Farm Bureau.
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.