Pork Association Honors Producers, Industry Members During Expo

The Wisconsin Pork Association recently recognized producers and industry members for their dedicated service at the 2017 Pork and Corn/Soy Expo, held on February 2-3 in Wisconsin Dells.

Producer Honoree Award

Each year, the Wisconsin Pork Association presents a Distinguished Service Award to a fellow individual whose contributions to the Wisconsin swine industry merit special recognition. The 2016 WPA Producer Distinguished Service award was presented to Budd Post, posthumously.  Post was first involved in the Wisconsin Pork Association several years ago through his role as a board member in the Tri-County Pork Producers.  He became fully engaged in helping WPA at the Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show, by showing up to help in set-up, and also each day to help cook.  Budd then volunteered to run for the WPA Board in 2015.  Again, he showed his dedication by jumping in with both feet, never hesitating to contribute his time and talent.  The first year he was on the board, he spent nearly every day at the Wisconsin State Fair.  He wasn’t asked or required to – he just did.

Budd’s personality was such that he gained the respect of many young people. He was really a big kid in a 73 year old body.  He will be remembered as a great mentor to many generations and a man who was always on the go, working endlessly to ensure that no task was left undone.

To some of us, he was known by his nickname –The Flat Farmer—which he acquired following a tractor accident in 1970 where he suffered life-threatening injuries. Budd embraced the nickname, which fit his personality and build so well.

In addition to serving on the WPA and the Tri-County Pork Producers boards, he was a safety official for the Midwest Truck and Tractor Pullers and was very involved with both the Wisconsin and National Tractor Pullers Associations. He is missed by many for his can-do attitude, willingness to give his all, and quick humor.

Industry Honoree Award

The pork industry is fortunate in having many industry representatives who are dedicated to promoting and serving the industry. The Wisconsin Pork Association honors these individuals and companies by presenting them with the Distinguished Service Industry Honoree Award.  The recipient of the award for 2016 is Dan Sutherland.  Dan has been a longtime supporter of the pork industry, and recently retired from Johnsonville after over 30 years of service.

Sutherland’s background is based on three generations in the Wisconsin livestock business. His grandfather Harry was the founder of Badger Livestock at the Milwaukee Stockyards. Dan’s father, Jack, founded Sutherland Order Buying at the Milwaukee Stockyards, and was daily in the Equity markets as well as the Chicago and Ft. Atkinson markets.  That tradition continues today with Dan’s brother, Gary, who manages the new Milwaukee Stockyards in Reeseville.  Dan started at the Milwaukee Stockyards in 1972, and continued until 1982, when he joined Johnsonville in their new harvest operation.  Dan remained at Johnsonville until retirement at the end of 2016.

Dan was hired as the head of sow procurement at Johnsonville, but wore many hats during those years including plant management, meat and value added sales, meat purchasing, rendering, hides and purchasing of their other harvests in Illinois and Kansas. He also worked at opening up foreign markets, of which Johnsonville is in over 40 countries today.  At the time of Dan’s retirement, Johnsonville was the largest sow harvester in the world and number one in almost every category they competed in.

Dan has also been a core industry leader nationally, including work with the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council. That involvement includes having served on multiple committees and as past president of the Packers Processors Industry Council.  He is going to stay involved in a number of national committees, including competitive markets, animal health and food security, foreign animal disease and identification.  Dan has also served as a member of WPA’s Swine Health Committee for a number of years.


WPA acknowledges the efforts of individuals in the agriculture industry to communicate with others by presenting them with the Agri-Communicator award. The recipient of this award is Mike Austin, a farm broadcaster, representing agriculture in the Fox Valley market.

Austin’s broadcast career started in 1975 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison doing multiple broadcast duties in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 1977 he began his farm broadcasting career at WYTL/WOSH in Oshkosh.  After three years, he started doing agricultural reports on WGEE radio (now WTAQ) and WBAY TV in Green Bay.  Mike has been doing Noon Hour Ag reports and features for WFRV TV 5 in Green Bay and provides ag features, news stories and market reports for six radio stations including three in Green Bay, two in Wausau and one in Sheboygan since 1982.

Mike has been recognized by both the broadcast industry and farm and commodity organizations for his broadcast efforts, as well as the community of Bellevue, Wisconsin for his work with youth programs. He is very grateful for all the recognition he has received especially from the Wisconsin 4-H and FFA Associations.

The Wisconsin Pork Association’s mission is to insure the future success of the Wisconsin pork industry. WPA represents the interests of the pork industry members with a strong emphasis on social issues, public and government policies, environment, animal welfare and safety.