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Jacob Sorensen named Pork Ambassador

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 08/21/2013 7:58 AM

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GILFILLAN — A Freeborn County young man is this year's Minnesota Pork Ambassador.

Jacob Sorensen is the son of James and Jacque. He was named ambassador at Farmfest on Aug. 7.

He was raised in the pork industry and has been showing hogs since he was 8, said Sorensen, who is 18.

Sorensen started a farrow-to-finish show pig business five years ago with his father and brothers. The farrowing barn was lost to fire in March 2013, and they are building the herd back up to 20 sows. They will focus on show pigs. This will include going to national shows and Internet sales.

A visit from a group of people from China sparked his desire to pursue the Pork Ambassador program. He wants to take his involvement in the industry to the next level and inform the public about pork.

He will be assisted by first runner-up Erin Wicker and second runner-up Andrew Praus.

Wicker, 18, of Kimball, is the daughter of John and Mary. Her family owns a 2,800-head finishing facility and has shares in a nursery.

Praus, 18, of Wanamingo, lives on a hobby farm with show pigs and calves. He also works on a large family-owned diversified farm with a custom finish operation. His employer's operation has a 4,300 head hog capacity. His parents are Tom and Julie Praus.

Sorensen, of Alden, competed at the county level and Praus was recruited to be a county pork ambassador. Stearns County doesn't have a pork ambassador program, so Wicker called the state office to see if she could compete.

She wanted to compete because she's passionate about being an agricultural leader.

Praus said he ran to help promote the industry.

The trio will promote pork and share information at the Minnesota State Fair Oink Booth.

The three representatives will start their freshman year of college around the beginning of the state fair.

Sorensen and Wicker are both bound for South Dakota State University. Sorensen will study agricultural systems technology. Wicker will study animal science and agricultural education. Praus will study agricultural and biosystems engineering at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

The 14 youth who vied to be Minnesota's Pork Ambassador were judged over two days. They had a personal interview on Aug. 5 and the next day they gave a presentation in the soybean tent at Farmfest. Each had to write a 600 to 750 word essay.

Adam Munsterteiger of East Central counties received the congeniality award and a cash gift and Wicker received a cash award for the best essay.