Stevermer advocates for county pork producers
Even though Lori Stevermer hasn’t been as physically involved in the barns as the rest of her family, she knows the ins and outs of the pork industry.
This knowledge, plus having attended the Pork Congress and being involved in state legislative committees such as the Promotion and Image Committee, made her a desirable candidate for the Minnesota Pork Producers Association Board or MPPA.
Indeed, Stevermer is no stranger to the needs of area pork producers or to the workings of the MPPA organization. She and her husband have even attended Legislative Day in St. Paul a couple times, in addition to advocating their pork industry at the nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C.
“The state nominating committee was looking for people to serve on the board,” says Stevermer. “They asked if I would be interested and I said I was.”
In December, she was officially elected to the MPPA Executive Board. It consists of nine members who serve three-year terms.
The MPPA works on behalf of the pork producers to assure they are heard during discussions regarding environmental regulations, trade and tariffs, animal welfare, animal health practice, disease preparedness, homeland security, fees and taxes, conservation funding and food safety.
A trade organization specifically for pork producers, contract growers, operation employees, and allied industry representatives, the MPPA works on policy advocacy at the local, state and national levels.
As an executive board member of MPPA, some of the core activities Stevermer will be involved in at the state level include:
– representation for the swine industry in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
– access to a legal defense fund
– providing targeted lobbying expertise
– educational programs for lawmakers and staff
– and participating in transportation and business development groups to increase the pork industry’s presence and input on decisions affecting agriculture.
Stevermer explains funding for MPPA activities is through membership in the voluntary Strategic Investment Program (SIP), the MPPA Partners Program, the Weaned Pig Partners, Pork Congress trade show and voluntary contributions.
Strategic Investment (SIP) is a voluntary program paid for by pork producers with all proceeds going towards industry advocacy. The collection of Strategic Investment is made at the point of sale. Participating producers contribute 10 cents per $100 value of hogs sold. Of that amount, a portion remains in the state of its collection and the remaining portion goes to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
Through the $100 MPPA Partners Program, contract growers, operation employees and industry supporters can support MPPA and NPPC work in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. Individuals who pay the enrollment fee have a vote at the annual meeting and input into policy making decisions for the pork industry.
“We really want to make sure government people understand how their decisions affect our business,” summarizes Stevermer in her advocacy for the MPPA.
Stevermer grew up on a hog farm near Truman. She jokingly says her first involvement in the industry dates back to the year she was named Martin County’s Pork Queen.
Following her high school graduation, she earned a degree as a veterinary technician from the University of Minnesota in Waseca.
“I wanted to do a little more, so I went for a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science at the University of Minnesota,” explains Stevermer. “After graduating, I interviewed with several different companies and kind of fell into a job with Wayne Feeds. I worked with them, then with Hubbard Feeds. I was in sales from 1986 to 2004. Since then, I have worked in the corporate office of Hubbard Feeds on Riverfront Drive in Mankato doing marketing.
Stevermer says she primarily works on communications, product development and brand awareness in which she promotes the Hubbard brand.
“Most of the work I do is Mankato-based, but I do reach out to Iowa and Indiana, or pretty much the Midwest,” says Stevermer. “I do more webinars and internet work now, so this saves on travel.”
She says having worked with dealers and pork producers while she was in sales has made her a better marketer.
“I can look back on my past experience, plus, I have a good test market right at home since my husband, Dale, is a hog producer.”
She says she originally met her husband while she was making a sales call at his father, Bernie Stevermer’s farm. In 1990, the couple married and has since lived on the family farm called ‘Trail’s End.’ They have three children, Brett (15), Adam (12) and Beth (10).
“The family has always been pork producers,” says Stevermer. “Right now, my husband raises about 2,000 Compart genetic brand sows from farrow to finish.”
Over the past 20 years, Stevermer has seen the ups and downs in the industry
“The ‘Swine Flu’ hurt the pork industry,” she says. “It particularly hurt our exports which are very important in this business. Domestically, we remained stable, but as a Hubbard representative I tried to relay information to promote awareness to our producers and consumers pork was and is safe.”
To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.