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Dave Preisler honored for his leadership role in Minnesota's pork industry

Minnesota Pork Producers Association CEO Dave Preisler was presented with the Distinguished Service Award at the Minnesota Ag & Food Summit.

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Dave Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, received the Distinguished Service Award at the AgriGrowth Minnesota Ag & Food Summit on Nov. 4. Contributed by AgriGrowth

MANKATO, Minnesota — For nearly three decades Dave Preisler has helped steer the winding ship of Minnesota's pork industry.

Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, received the Distinguished Service Award at the AgriGrowth Minnesota Ag & Food Summit on Nov. 4. The company's tradition of presenting the award goes back to 1968, for "unique service and significant contributions to strengthening food systems and agriculture in Minnesota."

"Nominated by his peers for his contributions to the agri-food industry, Dave deserves this special recognition," said Tamara Nelsen, executive director of AgriGrowth. "We are thankful for Dave’s leadership and contribution to a strong agri-food industry in Minnesota."

Preisler, who's been in the role with the MPPA for 27 years, said he was "really humbled' by the award and nomination.

Raised on farm in Mahnomen, Minnesota, Preisler's first job out of college was as a high school ag teacher in the Norman County West School District, in the Red River Valley. Preisler spent six years after that working for the University of Minnesota Extension service.

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He said while so much has changed in the pork industry in his time with MPPA, what he enjoys most about it hasn't.

"Things that really haven't changed are the integrity that farmers have," said Preisler. "And also how they are really an important part of their rural communities, and give back to the rural communities."

Most industries faced pandemic fallout but not many worse than pork production. But Preisler said 2021 has been positive for the most part.

"It's been a much, much better year financially," he said. "Part of that is because hog numbers are down a little bit, and demand for the product has been really good, both from a domestic standpoint and from an export standpoint."

The longtime MPPA CEO said one area the association will be leaning into in years to come is sustainability.

"(Sustainability) is something that farmers have practiced for a long time, but really haven't measured it, and so we're just at the beginning stages of really taking a hard look at data and truly measuring our sustainability," said Preisler. "I think that's something that's going to be asked for by our customers more and more as we go down the road."

Line speeds

One major hurdle for pork producers in 2021 is the negative market impact from a federal court ruling against the New Swine Inspection System line speeds this spring .

Preisler said the slowdown is definitely affecting Minnesota's pork producers.

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"We're seeing it come into play here in the fall, because that's when we tend to have larger numbers of pigs come to market," said Preisler.

He said the MPPA is involved in continued discussions in Washington, D.C., to push for a resolution.

"It's not inevitable that we stay where we're at right now," he said. "We are continuing to interact with our folks in D.C., to keep pushing the issue to see if we can get it rectified and back to where we were prior to the first of July this year."

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