Four individuals were recognized for their excellence in pork production and contributions to the pork industry. Those chosen for these honors are nominated by their peers and selected by the MPPA Board of Directors.

Distinguished Service Award: Gene Ellis, Decatur, MI

The Distinguished Service Award, Michigan Pork Producers Association’s highest honor, is bestowed on those individuals who have made a significant lifetime contribution to the pork industry at both the state and national levels. Receiving the award this year is Gene Ellis from Decatur, MI.

For many years, Gene had worked for Michigan Livestock Exchange and then United Producers Inc. and has been involved in helping farmers with packer contracts and shipping hogs throughout the state.

His knowledge of the industry and drive for continued growth and improvement, coupled with his dedication and passion for agriculture, have made him a leader whose opinions are actively sought and valued by his peers. Gene is well-known for his commitment to the industry and excellent service to Michigan’s pig farmers.

Master Pork Producer: Gord Poll, Hamilton, MI

The Master Pork Producer Award honors those who have demonstrated skills in proficient pork production and taken an active leadership role in the Michigan pork industry. Chosen to receive the award this year is Gord Poll from Hamilton, Michigan.

Gord began farming on his family farm with his brother in 1992. The business continues to be a family affair as his children are now involved with the operation.

Contract Grower Award: Charlie Schuring

The Contract Grower of the Year Award recognizes individuals for superior commitment, knowledge, leadership and skill in proficient pork production. Named to receive the Contract Grower Award this year is Charlie Schuring. Charlie finishes hogs for High Lean Pork in Muir, MI.

Swine Herd Manager Award: Zenaido Loyola, Dykhuis Farms

The Swine Herd Manager Award is given annually to an individual who exemplifies superior commitment, knowledge and leadership in their role as a manager of a pork production operation. MPPA awarded the Swine Herd Manager Award to Zenaido Loyola, who manages River Bend Farm and is employed by Dykhuis Farms.