(CLIVE, Iowa) - A pig farming couple from Sioux County has been named 2016 Master Pork Producers by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
Robert and Cheryl Ten Napel from Ireton received 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 business.
The Ten Napels own and operate RTN Farms and have raised pigs for 38 years. They started raising pigs farrow to finish, but later transitioned to farrow to wean. In 2008, due to increased regulation and health challenges, they converted their buildings into nurseries and finishers and now raise hogs on contract. The couple owns 3,200 swine finishing spaces and 8,000 nursery spaces. Robert provides all of the daily pig care.
"We've always tried to stay current with the ever-changing practices, adapting our methods and buildings as we went," Robert said. "Sometimes you do discover that the old way worked better and have to go back. Keeping ourselves educated and current brings about a healthier pig and that is the most important factor in our operation."
Robert and Cheryl also have a thousand acres of corn and soybeans.
The Ten Napels off-farm activities include their local church council, where Robert serves as treasurer. He also is a member of the West Sioux Education Foundation Board and the Hawarden Community Foundation Board. Robert and Cheryl are proud members of the Sioux County Pork Producers.
The couple has three adult children and six grandchildren.
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.