Future Leaders Illinois Pork





As the pork industry continues to evolve, the Illinois Pork Producers Association recognizes the need to focus on the future by finding and educating young talent that will take the helm as tomorrow's leaders on committees, boards and other leadership positions. Keeping our industry relevant and educating our consumers is a top priority. The development of our future leaders is a critical next step to keep the industry moving forward while providing the next generation of pig farmers with the skills and expertise needed to advocate for our ever-changing industry.   



To select up-and-coming pork industry candidates biannually, between the ages of 25-40, to participate in an Illinois focused pork leadership program. The two-year program will highlight commercial production and encourage young leaders to get involved and be more active in the pork industry. The selected candidates will participate in four meetings over the course of the first year and also have the opportunity to attend a legislative fly-in to Washington D.C. with the National Pork Producers Council.


Program Highlights:

Year One:

Candidates will be notified if they are selected to participate in early January 2024. A formal announcement will be shared during the 2024 Illinois Pork Expo on January 30, 2024. 


The first meeting will kick-off in Springfield on May 15-16, 2024 and give candidates an opportunity to get a Pork 101 overview of the industry from all aspects, including a state and national perspective and government/regulatory issues facing the industry. Candidates will also be able to have one-on-one conversations with seasoned farmers on their production standards and best management practices.

The second meeting will be held on July 18, 2024 and focus on the next steps in marketing hogs by hosting a day-long meeting at Smithfield processing plant in Illinois. Participants will tour a plant, discuss industry standards, export markets and overall future goals and expectations.

The third meeting, held on October 21-22, 2024 will take place in Chicago, where the focus will shift to retail marketing. Candidates will learn about product promotion, retail and foodservice trends and how to educate urban stakeholders and general consumers about the pork industry.


Year Two:

In 2025, the participants will have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. with our executive board members to the Spring or Fall fly-in sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council. Participants will be invited to participate in one of the two fly-in dates and attend meetings with our Illinois congressional delegation members. 


Meeting Dates:
May 15-16, 2024 - Springfield (Meeting will be a day and a half- held at the IPPA Office)
July 18, 2024 - Smithfield Processing Plant in Monmouth
October 21-22, 2024 - Chicago (two day meeting)
April 2025 - Spring Legislative Fly-In* - Washington DC
September 2025 - Fall Legislative Fly-In* - Washington DC

* Participants attend one of the two fly-in opportunities. 


Candidate Requirements:

Selected candidates must be able to attend the three meetings in 2024 and are encouraged to attend one of the two legislative fly-ins to Washington D.C. in 2025. Men and women ages 25- 40 who have an interest in the pork industry are encouraged to apply. Selected participants will not be responsible for any expenses to participate in the program.


For questions about the Future Leaders program,  please contact Jennifer Tirey @ (217) 529-3100 or by Email



Future Leaders Class: 2021 - 2023


Meeting #1 - IL Pork Producers Association Headquarters - Springfield, IL. May 2021
Future Leaders met with their local state legislators and IL. Dept. of Agriculture Director, Jerry Costello II


Meeting #2 - Future Leaders toured JBS Packing Plant in Beardstown, IL. - July 2021


Meeting #3 - Future Leaders traveled to Chicago to tour McDonald's Hamburger University 


Spring Legislative Fly-In to Washington DC - March 2023


Fall Legislative Fly-In to Washington DC - September 2023


2021-23 Future Leader Class:

Seth Carlson – Henderson County, TriOak Foods

Emmalee Haege – Washington County, The Maschhoff’s

Patrick King – Knox County, Kingsdale Farms

Drew Kuhn – DeKalb County, a production manager at Sturtevant Hog Farms

Heather Luth – McDonough County, The Carthage System

Tyler Main – Knox County, Main Hitch Farm

Jenny Morris – Champaign County, grad student at University of Illinois

Miranda Reininger – Mercer County, Biddle Farms

Brianne Skien – Hancock County, The Carthage System

Amanda Spinner – Montgomery County, Borgic Farms

Amanda Uitermarkt – Henry County, Gestal/JYGA Technologies

Corbin Uitermarkt – Henry County, Wiechman Pig Company



Inaugural Future Leaders Class: 2018-19


Meeting #1: IL Pork Producers Association Headquarters - Springfield, IL. May 2018


Meeting #2: Smithfield Processing Plant - Monmouth, IL. July 2018



Meeting #3: ADM/The Chopping Block - Chicago, IL. November 2018


Meeting #4: 2019 Illinois Pork Expo - Springfield, IL.


2019 Spring Legislative Fly-In to DC