Pork Association Honors Producers, Industry Members

The Wisconsin Pork Association recently recognized producers and industry members for their dedicated service at the 2018 Pork and Corn/Soy Expo, held on February 1-2 in Wisconsin Dells.

Producer Honoree Award

Each year, the Wisconsin Pork Association presents a Distinguished Service Award to fellow individuals whose contributions to the Wisconsin swine industry merit special recognition. The 2017 WPA Producer Distinguished Service award was presented to Randy and Linda Kleven, Janesville. The Kleven’s are dedicated volunteers and friends to the Wisconsin pork industry. They have both provided leadership and involvement in the Rock County Pork Producers and Wisconsin Pork Association.

Randy has served as president of the Rock County Pork Producers for a number of years, which involves organizing their annual PorkFest event. PorkFest draws a crowd of around 7,000 and they sell approximately 25,000 pork chops in the one day event. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of PorkFest. It takes hundreds of volunteer hours to pull this off, but the teamwork offered by the leaders of the pork producers in Rock County gets the job done.

Randy has served as a manager of WPA’s Pork Schoppe at the Wisconsin State Fair since 2012. The Rock County Pork Producers provide a full day of volunteers to make the busiest day of the fair a sure success. He also works hard each winter to get donations for WPA’s youth auction program held at expo.

Linda has also volunteered significant time for WPA programs and events. She has been a member of the Promotion Committee for seven years, and has helped to ensure the success of the annual Taste of Elegance by working with the chefs and helping organize the reception.

Randy and Linda have also volunteered for a number of other events, including Badger tailgates, New Glarus Beer/Bacon/Cheese festival, and at the WPS Farm Show.

The Klevens started raising pigs in the early 1990’s on their farm in Harmony Township in Rock County. They began with Spots, Hampshires, and crossbreds, and eventually added Herefords and Tamworths, which they continue to raise today.

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 2017 is Zen Miller. Zen was presented his award during his recent retirement party.

Miller is an insightful listener and educator. In 2009, he joined the newly formed UW-Extension swine team to assist Wisconsin’s pork producers. In 2012, he took over the role as Swine Team leader. As a member of the team, he was engaged in a number of projects, including a swine team booth at Farm Technology Days, coordinating meetings with Wisconsin processors and producers, hosting an annual Badger Swine Symposium and coordinating a swine team partners meeting annually.

Miller has also served for a number of years as a Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance trainer and advisor to farmers. He’s attended World Pork Expo and the National Pork Board’s Swine Educators Conference, bringing back valuable knowledge and resources to our state. As swine team leader, he also attended several of the WPA board meetings throughout the year.

Miller has been an outstanding resource to livestock producers in his county and across the state, and Wisconsin Pork Association is deeply appreciative of his leadership and service to the swine team for nearly a decade.


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 Neil Debuse, of Clive, Iowa. DeBuse is a veterinarian and Founder, Owner and President of Minnesota Swine Reproduction Center, LLC. He has 20-years of experience as a veterinarian and as a manager in pork production, with direct work on key areas of sow farm and boar stud management and implementing production and health solutions for individual and integrated farms. The Minnesota Swine Reproduction Center is a swine-specific veterinary consulting firm based in Northfield, MN.

DeBuse has served as a member of WPA’s Swine Health committee and PRRS Task Force for several years. His leadership on disease management, biosecurity and depth of knowledge about PRRS has been valuable. He is always willing to provide producer education and outreach. Last year, he even presented on a WPA-hosted webinar while he was traveling overseas and it was 2 in the morning. His common sense approach to swine health challenges, particularly in developing language for the revised Wisconsin animal health rule dealing with PRRS and SECD, is greatly appreciated.

Distinguished Public Service

Each year, the Wisconsin Pork Association (WPA) presents the Distinguished Public Service Award, which recognizes a legislator who provides outstanding support to the pork industry. Secretary Sheila Harsdorf was presented the award for her efforts on behalf of Wisconsin agriculture in her tenure as a member of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Secretary Harsdorf has been a great leader for Wisconsin farmers in the legislature since she was first elected to the Assembly in 1988. Because she is a farmer, she truly understands the needs of the farming community.

Secretary Harsdorf represented agriculture in the State Legislature for more than 25 years. During this time, she was a tireless advocate for Wisconsin farmers as a member of numerous committees, including the Joint Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism.

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.