Leon Sheets
LEADING THE WAY: Iowa farmer Leon Sheets is America’s Pig Farmer of the Year for the remainder of the 2017-18 program year.

Iowan named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

Leon Sheets fills pork leadership role.

The National Pork Board has named Leon Sheets, a pig farmer from Ionia in northeast Iowa, as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year for the remainder of the 2017-18 program year. The previous winner, Leslie McCuiston, stepped down after taking a new position in the ag industry, where she will not directly work with pigs, which is an ongoing requirement for the role.

“With the unexpected change, the National Pork Board reached out to our America’s Pig Farmer of the year judging panel,” says Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Nebraska and president of the National Pork Board. “The panel unanimously voted to elevate Sheets, a finalist from last fall, with the move adopted and supported by all members of the National Pork Board.”

For McCuiston’s part, she says, “First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Leon and thank him for graciously stepping into the role of America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. He is a great representative of what pig farmers do every day. Although it’s bittersweet for me, on a personal level, one must evaluate professional opportunities as they are presented. I am excited to continue working with pig farmers and veterinarians in my new role.”

Pig farming his lifelong passion
Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Sheets, who started farming with his grandfather when he was a young child. Sheets raises 33,000 pigs on his farm in northeast Iowa, where he focuses on animal care and environmental sustainability. With the help of his employees, son and wife, Sheets also grows corn, soybeans, hay and cover crops.

“Working with pigs has been a rewarding profession,” Sheets says. “Every morning I wake up to new challenges, along with knowing what to expect when I head to the barns. Living on a farm is more of a lifestyle than simply a job. I look forward to sharing my passion and experience with others.”

The annual award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the “We Care” ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced. Sheets will serve in the role until a new America’s Pig Farmer of the Year is announced in October.

Source: National Pork Board

New option for filing MMP updates

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will soon have an online option for livestock and poultry farmers to file the Manure Management Plan annual updates and compliance fees.

The electronic MMP (eMMP) filing option provides a simplified process for livestock farmers, their consultants, counties and DNR.

The new system will be online and accessible in March in time to file the April updates.

In preparation for the new system, DNR has taken precautions to ensure the security of your filing. In March, DNR will mail a PIN number to all owners of confinement feeding operations. The PIN number will allow owners to securely access the new system.

In preparation, call your local DNR field office to make sure your current mailing address is on file. The farm site’s address or your consultant’s address will not be adequate for this mailing.

Rather than driving and hand-delivering the documents, farmers will have the option to submit the annual MMP electronically from home, the office or a smartphone. County officials will receive the MMP electronically once the DNR approves the submission.

While the option to file on paper in person still exists, the eMMP short form provides a secure, automated process to remind farmers of due dates, pay fees online and authorize consultants to submit the update. This will save time while continuing to provide an efficient, high-quality service, DNR says.

For updates and help on the eMMP, check DNR’s web page or subscribe to AFO eNews, an emailed newsletter for livestock and poultry producers.

Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources

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