Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Ranked among the top five pork producing counties in Iowa, Washington County’s division of the Iowa Pork Producers Association makes an effort to live up to the reputation of its members.
“The bulk of what we do is local promotion of pork,” Washington County Pork Producers President Bryce Sieren said. “We do that through grilling events, or we’ll donate meat to certain charity causes and anywhere it seems appropriate. When we can, we’ll try to educate the public about pork as a whole.”
While the skills required to raise hogs are distinct from the skills required to run a successful organization, Sieren said the two have a surprising amount of overlap.
“Farming is a business, and so we’re kind of all businessmen,” he said. “We’re used to handling money and making decisions with money.”
One of the group’s most recognizable fundraising measures is its grilling events, a common sight at Southeast Iowa festivities.
“We’ll bring our trailer and our grilling equipment in there, and we’ll cook and sell pork burgers or pork chops or something of that nature,” Sieren said. “The idea is to get our product out there for the community to try.”
One unique aspect of the cooking events is that they’re seasonal, usually only held in the spring and summer.
“Most of our events are in the summer because, you know, in the wintertime it’s cold, and in the fall we’re busy with harvest,” Sieren said. “If we have events in the fall, it’s tougher to line up the people to do it, so we focus on those summer months and can get things done a lot easier then.”
Sieren said much of that money is funneled into community causes.
“We will contribute to community events and fundraising, usually we do that donating the meat for their meal,” he said. “We try to do as many local events as we can in that regard.”
Another community initiative of the pork producers is education about their product. Whether it's the latest in sustainability or the perfect way to prepare pork (145 degrees with a 5-minute rest,) Sieren said the organization was committed to keeping people in the know.
“Usually if we sponsor an event, we bring pamphlets and recipe cards, stuff like that, and throw in some of those for people to pass out,” he said. “That’s the education side of things.”
Sieren urged anyone interested in the organization to reach out about membership.
“Anyone is welcome to become a member of the Washington County Pork Producers, and you can do so by coming to the golf outing in June or contacting a board member,” he said. “We are always seeking more board members.”