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Okay, so I may be a little older than what most people think of for adoption but in this case the adoption means I’ve been chosen by the Worthington Middle School students through Provider Pals. This program is a cultural exchange between those in agriculture and inner-city students.

Provider Pals was started by Bruce Vincent, a logger from Montana as a way for urban and rural students to exchange information and gain a better understanding of their common ground and their differences. For more information on Provider Pals you can visit their website at http://www.providerpals.com

The MN Pork Board has sponsored 4 pork producers to be part of this program, of which I and my daughter Beth are fortunate enough to be able to participate. Over the next few months we’ll be exchanging information on ourselves and the activities that happen on our farm with these students. I am looking forward to the students’ questions and helping them learn more about life on a hog and grain farm. It will be important not just to show them what’s different, but what we have in co

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Our weekend in Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon was successful on many levels. First, as pork producers we were able to interact with people at the health fair. This allowed us to share information with them on preparing pork, especially how to avoid overcooking it. The moist juicy pork samples they tasted were a great example of how cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145° and then holding it can create product that is enjoyable to eat and packed with lean protein and vitamins. Many were surprised that we were actual farmers and running races during the weekend. Yes, you can eat pork and run.

 The second success was our actual races. Everyone turned in great times. It seems all of us felt better prepared and perhaps more at ease since this was our second year of competing. Many times we talked about the challenging weather we had to train in these last few months; rain, wind, cold, heat and if you go back far enough, blizzards. The discipline to train during the rough weather definitely helped. As I faced the wind on the back stretch of my race I thought, “This is just like running against the wind on our road. I can do this.”

 Finally the third success was the power of friends coming together and sharing their life experiences.  Saturday afternoon as we strolled along Superior St. we not only reflected on our races but what was happening with our farming operations, our kids and ourselves. It’s important to have the support of family and friends, to have someone grab our arm and help us when we waiver.

 Thank you to everyone who has helped this year’s Pork Power team be a success, not just as athletes but as people working together to promote pork, family and friends.

Last week Dale and I spent two days at the MN Pork Congress. It’s a busy event for us filled with MPPA meetings, Taste of Elegance, the tradeshow and seminars. The best part of this time is catching up with our friends. Some of these pork producers we only see once a year, at this show. For that reason, it’s rather like a class reunion. Despite the challenges we face as pig farmers, we are a young, enthusiastic group that has an eye on the future.

This week is the Iowa Pork Congress. I will work the tradeshow and once again catch up with my pork producer friends and industry associates. The Iowa show is larger, mainly because Iowa has more farmers and sells more pigs. While I don’t know the people as well, they too represent a group of people determined to meet the challenges of farming head on and succeed.

I’ve been involved with these tradeshows for almost 25 years. There have been many changes but one thing remains constant, the commitment these people have to the pork industry.