Richter looking forward to opportunities and challenges as Pork Board vice presiden
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 07/09/2012 3:10 PM
DES MOINES —Karen Richter, a Montgomery, Minn., pork producer, was elected vice president of the National Pork Board last week in Des Moines.
"Last year I held the office of treasurer, which was a new position with its challenges and growing pains, but it was a great opportunity," said Richter in an interview at the World Pork Expo. "I enjoyed being part of the executive committee so I made the decision to make a step up this year. I'm very excited. I think it finally sunk in this morning."
She will chair the administrative committee, which she also chaired two years ago. As treasurer, she took charge of the finance committee. She also serves on the Pork Safety, Quality and Human Nutrition Committee.
"As a diabetic, I loved that, working with nutrition and the message that goes to dietitians," Richter said.
It will mean a busy schedule and added opportunities to travel in the coming year.
"I love this industry and the people I get to work with and the challenges and being able to help your own operation grow by having access to knowledge and working side by side with the top researchers in the country," Richter said.
As a youngster growing up on a New Ulm dairy farm, she never imagined she'd be where she is.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunities that have come my way," Richter said.
She met her husband, Dave, at the University of Minnesota, Waseca where she majored in agricultural business and he in diversified agricultural production.
"We both have a love for agriculture and never wanted to be far from the farm," she said. "We've instilled that in our kids as well."
Their daughter, Kate, works as human resources manager for Wakefield Pork in Gaylord, Minn.. Their son, Brad, will attend South Central College in North Mankato this fall to study ag service and mechanics and ag business.
The Richters raise wean to finish and feeder to finish pigs, and their operation is an isolation farm for replacement gilts for another farm in their county.
In the coming year, Richter wants "to spread the good news" about the Pork Checkoff's recently released sustainability research.
"Pork Board president Conley Nelson talked about how when he was growing up on the farm, you did the day to day work, but you didn't really measure things," Richter said. "I grew up in that same era and things have really changed. It's nice to have the science behind everything we do. I want to encourage people to look at all the improvements we've made over the years and how efficient we are with inputs and how we'll be able to feed a growing population."
Richter said she is disturbed by recent efforts by those outside of farming to dictate how people farm.
"I've been around livestock all my life and the ones who know animals best are the ones who work with them day in and day out," Richter said. "Farmers deserve to have the choice to do what they think is best for their animals, facilities and farming situations because they know best."