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Manternach honored for pork promotion

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 02/06/2014 12:13 PM

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DES MOINES — Shirley Manternach won the Iowa Belle Ringer Award for her promotion work with the Delaware County Pork Producers Association.

She received a plaque and glass bell at last week's Iowa Pork Producers Association annual meeting luncheon.

"It was exciting to get the award," Manternach said. "I didn't expect it.''

Manternach and her husband, Dale, have a wean-to-finish operation near Manchester. They market 4,100 pigs annually.

She also works at the Delaware County Farm Service Agency. Her three children are out of school, two are working and one is in college, but they still help with the family operation.

Maternach said she just completed a four-year term on the Delaware County Pork Producers board.

Manternach works with educating the community about pork. She, the county pork queen and the pork princess visit county fourth graders to educate them about pork production and pork cuts. They bring along a billboard listing all the items made from pork. They also let the students sample pork.

Manternach talks about the "We Care" symbol, and gives the youngsters magnets to take home.

"We stress that as pork producers we do care about our animals and how we treat them, and we do care about the consumer who enjoys our product," Manternach said.

She also gives students pig erasers, tattoos and stickers.

"We can tell by their questions that they are paying attention and listening," Manternach said. "One little girl asked me if the erasers were made out of pork. I told her that they were."

The students get to share what their favorite pork cuts are.

"I talked to them about all the different kinds of brats — even pineapple and blueberry," she said. "They didn't know there were that many varieties."

The pork queen and princess, Little Miss Pigtails and Sir Hamalot, also accompany Manternach and other volunteers to the Good Neighbor Home and Penn Center where they also talk about pork.

"I also help with the county fair by weighing in pigs," she said.

Manternach works with the county pie auction. The money raised is used for pork promotion activities.

"Anyone in the community can bring a pie, and we give prizes for best tasting and best made pies," Manternach said. "Most of the pies sell for over $100. For businesses that can't make it to the auction but want to make a donation, I usually make about 15 pies after the auction."

The 2014 auction is scheduled April 8 in the Delaware County Pavilion in Manchester. The new Little Miss Pigtails and Sir Hamalot are picked as a part of the auction.

The Delaware County Pork Producers Association also was honored for Best County Pork Program for the group's involvement with Second Helpings, a free meal held every Monday night at Manchester United Methodist Church. The meal is open to anyone who would like a free meal or some company. Second Helpings relies entirely on donations and help from volunteers.