The Illinois Pork Producers Association’s (IPPA) Very Important Pork Promoters (VIPP) awards were announced last week. The awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the state’s pork industry. Winners are nominated by county organizations and other pork producers and selected by a committee of producers.

Bob Easter, former Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and Interim Chancellor at the University of Illinois, received the IPPA Distinguished Service Award. Easter’s career has included conducting leading-edge swine research projects, teaching students and others around the world about ways to improve pig production, and providing outstanding leadership to both the College of ACES and to the University of Illinois in administrative positions. His strong desire to promote and better the pork industry is centered on his belief that the transfer of science-based information in the Illinois pork industry will be essential in keeping pork producers’ businesses viable in a competitive global marketplace. The IPPA Distinguished Service Award is given annually to a dedicated, sincere, and respected leader whose enthusiasm is evident through tireless service to the organization and industry.

The Scholl Family, Polo, IL, was recognized as the Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year. The family is made up of LaVerne and Irv, Brent and Kathy and their children Samantha and Garret, and Bruce and Julie and their sons Matt and Scott. Brent and Bruce are fifth-generation farmers. The Scholls have a diversified grain and livestock farm in Lee and Ogle Counties where they raise row crops and livestock. The Scholl family has been active in all aspects of the IPPA at the county, state and national level. The award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.

Bill Fisher, Pesotum, IL, received the IPPA Pork Promoter of the Year Award.  Fisher has been instrumental to the success of many IPPA activities and has served as an active IPPA board member for the last 12 years. He has helped with the Birthing Center at the Illinois State Fair and has given 86 presentations as part of the National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street program The Pork Promoter of the Year award recognizes an individual, couple of family for an outstanding job of promoting pork and/or the pork industry on a local, state or regional level during the calendar year.