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Pork Checkoff Announces #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces
Kentucky Ag Connection - 07/17/2019

The Pork Checkoff has selected 13 college students to represent the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces team this year. Candidates were selected based on their involvement in the pork industry and their strong communication skills. The team will be active July through December.

“Social media is ingrained in young people’s lives,” said Claire Masker, director of sustainability communications for the Pork Checkoff. “It’s an easy tool for them to share their insights and inspiration about an industry that they are so proud to be a part of. With so many diverse social media channels, they each have an opportunity to share their passion for pig farming with their followers.”

The 2019 class of Social Forces include:

- Arthur "Tré" Smith, Oklahoma State University

- Cole Spain, Iowa State University

- Kathryn Helmink, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

- Jenna Wheeler, Lake Land College

- Anna Link, University of Missouri Columbia

- Hunter Frobose, Ohio State University

- Morgan Fitzsimmons, Iowa State University

- Courtney Griffith, Butler Community College

- Shelby Shank Murray State University

- Jake Sterle, Iowa State University

- Mekenzie Beattie, University of Nebraska Lincoln

- Blake Price, Northwest Missouri State University

- Rachel Frazier, Iowa State University

“Consumers continue to have questions about how pigs are raised, and pig farmers know the answers better than anyone else,” Masker said. “Through the Pork Checkoff’s social media outreach program, real farmers are sharing their real stories with consumers through #RealPigFarming.”

The hashtag (#) before RealPigFarming helps people search social media posts with the same phrase, making it easier for them to follow conversations, Masker said.

"I am excited for the opportunity to bridge the disconnect between pig farmers and consumers by proactively engaging in conversation about modern pork production practices,” said Morgan Fitzsimmons, a new member of the #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces and a student at Iowa State University.

“The social forces team will be encouraged to use #RealPigFarming as advocates for the pork industry,” Masker said. “While serving on this team, the students will be able to improve their communications skills and expand their professional network within the industry.”

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management.

For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at

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