Nebraska woman named nation’s top pig farmer

For MAA

Leslie McCuiston, a pig farmer from Columbus, Neb., has been named the 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year by the National Pork Board.

McCuiston achieved the highest combined score from a third-party judging panel and online voting. The award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced.

“We are pleased to have Leslie represent America’s pig farmers. She embodies the very best in pig farming,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Friend, Neb. “It’s important that we share with today’s consumers how we raise their food in an ethical and transparent way. Leslie’s interest in sharing her farm’s story, as well as putting a face on today’s pig farming, will help us reach this goal.”

Focusing on people is McCuiston’s main goal as a senior production manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC. McCuiston believes in equipping employees with the right tools to provide the best animal care every day. She oversees 70 employees who care for more than 18,000 sows in central Nebraska and surrounding states.

“For me, pig farming isn’t just a job, it’s a career that I am passionate about,” she said. “I want to find new, innovative ways to show others what we do in pig farming, explain how much we care and help people understand where their food comes from.”

McCuiston was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year following a third-party audit of on-farm practices and after taking part in written and oral interviews by subject-matter experts. She achieved excellence in all aspects of pig farming, including animal care, stewardship, employee work environment and community service.