Pork Checkoff Announces #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces

Contact: Cindy Cunningham
National Pork Board
ccunningham@pork.org
515-223-2600

Pork Checkoff Announces #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces

DES MOINES, IOWA – July 16, 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:

Name Institution
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 Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. 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. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit www.pork.org.