Employee Spotlight Program

 IPPA values the hard work done by pig farmers and employees to provide nutritious protein to consumers. To highlight these dedicated employees, we have created the Employee Spotlight Program in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim. 


Each month we are inviting farm owners or employers to nominate their on-farm employees that go above and beyond. Each employee chosen monthly will receive a grilling set, recognition on our social channels and Chop Talk, and be entered to win the grand prize selected in Pork Month, October 2022.

*Nominations are rolling




Employee of the Year

Dan Phillips


Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has selected the first ever Employee Spotlight of the Year, Dan Phillips. Dan and his wife, Nicole live near Eureka, IL with their son Riley (14). There they are involved in Cross Point Community Church and The Ardent Tiller 4-H group of Carlock. In his free time, he enjoys hunting and fishing with his son.


Dan is not a stranger to the pork industry. He grew up on a small pig farm, starting as a young boy doing chores with his dad. Later, in high school he helped a local farmer with cattle and pigs as well. After graduating from WIU with a degree in Animal Science, he once again was drawn back into the pork industry where he was hired on at Leman Farms Inc. For nearly 16 years, Dan has been essential in the day-to-day operation at Leman Farms as the Operations Manager. Not only does he oversee the wellbeing of approximately 8,400 pigs but he also manages the feed mill, corn storage and hauling, equipment maintained, and coordinate daily activities with hog production manager. It is his goal for everything to run smoothly and raise healthy pigs.


Dan said his job is most rewarding because he raises these pigs and sees the whole process. With his many years of experience, he has improved his system for producing a quality protein source. He takes pride in the work he does and enjoys educating others on what he does. He finds the biggest challenge to be sharing with other what the industry truly does and getting people to start their career in pork production. He wishes people knew there was more to it than working in the barn all day. That is what Dan enjoys most, the diversity in what he does each day.


Farm owner Chad Leman said, “We are very grateful for Dan's work ethic and diligence in helping us care for our pigs, raise crops, and grow our farm.”  Thank you, Dan for your 24/7 care and commitment!




January Employee of the Month

Frank Jenkins 

Frank has 41 years combined work experience with two different family farm hog operations. In 1980, he worked for a farrow to finish operation: Heggemeir Pork Farm for 21 years. November 1st, 2001, he started working for Maschhoff Pork Farm (MPF), the original 13,000 sow farm that started the company.

To this day, he is still very essential to daily care of sows and piglets at the Breed-to-Wean MPF Coastal Carolina 2,800 head sow farm. He is responsible for all areas of farrowing house production including but not limited to processing, day 1 care, weaning and power washing.

Nominator Rebecca Keal says, “He takes pride in the work that he does. He can figure out any challenge thrown his way. His peers love to be in his presence because of his great sense of humor. We are grateful for Frank's hard work ethic, dedication and to be a committed team member of the MPF pod. Thank you, Frank, for your many years of care on the sow farm!”

In his free time, he loves to spend time raising and selling purebred Dachshund dogs and puppies.


February Employee of the Month

Kyle Alexander Jr. 



Congratulations to Kyle Alexander Jr. of Elkhart for being selected as the February Employee Spotlight.

Kyle has worked at Tri Pork Inc. for nearly 24 years.  From the beginning, Kyle has worked in all facets of the farm’s farrow-to-finish operations.  While here, his primary focus has been on caring for the farm’s growing and finishing pigs.  In addition, Kyle assists in training and helping new employees at the farm’s wean-to-finish location. 

“Kyle has exhibited sincere dedication to our farm and has been a team member for a long time,” says Thomas Titus with Tri Pork, Inc.  Titus continues, “As a family farm, Kyle not only has been a huge part in the success of our pig farm, but also has helped raise multiple generations at Tri Pork as well as Conrady Farms.”


March Employee of the Month

Tanner Radke



“Tanner Radke is a dedicated employee who is always looking for ways to improve the department he runs and the farm as a whole,” says Phillip Steber, manager of the Borgic Farms Newton Sow Farm. “He will not shy away from a new task, to learn nor will he hesitate to step out of his comfort zone to help complete tasks that need finished. He is an excellent leader and employee who will go far in this industry.”

Tanner has worked at the Newton Sow Farm for 8 years, with his current role as breeding manager.

Way to go, Tanner! Thanks for being a pig-ture perfect employee!


April Employee(s) of the Month

Philip and Caleb Hartman



We would like to congratulate brothers, Philip and Caleb Hartman, as the April Employees of the Month!

The brothers returned home to the family farm after their formal education years were over. Now, Philip is responsible for the 5,600 head site in Sibley, and Caleb oversees approximately 4,000 head site in Fairbury.

“Philip and Caleb are integral parts of the success of Hartman Pork, which continues to be the top tier of Leman Farms contract growers," says Chad Leman of Leman Farms Inc. "They are great examples of the success that hard work, integrity and great communication can bring. Both young men work diligently to ensure pigs are well cared for and the results speak for themselves."


May Employee of the Month
Travis Huxford  



This month we would like to congratulate Travis Huxford as the May Employee of the Month!

Huxford’s passion for the swine industry is evident from just one conversation with him about livestock. He is eager to educate others about the industry and share his knowledge. He is also equally excited to learn new ways to improve the farm.

As the manager of Welsh Swine Productions, Travis oversees the well-being of 5,000 sows and a team of 14 people. He has been with Welsh for four years, and in that time, he has built up his production numbers while also building a culture of commitment within the farm.

Travis is an excellent animal caretaker and manager and is always willing to go the extra mile. He will stay well past regular hours to work through any challenge or task, adapt to new challenges, and implement solutions while maintaining a high production level. The care he shows to pigs, people, and the farm is just one of many examples of his commitment and attention to detail.
Travis’s positive attitude and strong work ethic translates to his employees and motivates them to do their best daily. He leads his team by working alongside them and continuously offers guidance and support as they take on new tasks. He recognizes his team member’s strengths and sets them up for success by placing them in roles where they thrive.

Jeremy Welsh, the owner of Welsh Swine Productions, shared, “Travis is one of a kind, and that is known by anyone that meets him. All I can say is that my family and I are very blessed to have him in our lives.”
Welsh continues, “Travis has been an essential part of the success at Welsh Swine Production, and we are grateful for his leadership, dedication, and passion for raising pigs.” 



June Employee of the Month
Becky Rakers

This month we would like to congratulate Becky Rakers as the June Employee of the Month.

“Becky has been the bright light in our R&D department since she started here 7 years ago,” says Katie Brown of the Maschhoffs. “She's the first one to crack a joke but I guarantee she will also out work you on her worst day.”

Growing up on a dairy farm in southern IL with her family she learned if she takes care of her animals, her animals will take care of her. She took her knowledge of raising dairy and applied it to raising pigs with the added twist of also doing that in a research setting. Quality research was a priority in farm along with producing pigs.

Her way with people has allowed her farm to go above and beyond. But the most wonderful part of working with Becky is knowing how much she cares for her pigs she has on site. Brown continues, “Becky deserves to be highlighted because we all need more people like Becky in this world! She raises the standards, has one of the kindest hearts, and has fun doing the work it takes to innovate the swine industry.”









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