Spronk becomes president-elect of National Pork Producers Council
By Heather Thorstensen
Date Modified: 03/29/2012 10:11 AM
EDGERTON, Minn.— A former president of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association was recently named president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council.
Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, was elected to his new position March 3 during the group's annual business meeting, the National Pork Industry Forum, held in Denver.
Spronk served the last 12 months as the council's vice president. He will be president-elect until the 2013 annual business meeting, when he will succeed president R.C. Hunt of North Carolina to carry out a one-year term.
NPPC advocates for public policy on behalf of 43 affiliated state associations to support U.S. pork producers and industry stakeholders.
Much of Spronk's efforts in public policy has been focused on making sure environmental regulations aren't unnecessarily burdensome to pork producers.
He is one of the original members and a former chairman of NPPC's environmental policy committee. He remains a member of that committee. He is also on the National Pork Board's environmental committee.
He has discussed issues with representatives ofthe Environmental Protection Agency and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"The regulatory burden can get too heavy if we don't respond and make these agencies aware of what's occurring," he said. "I don't mind regulations that are positive and have a positive effect. Some serve no purpose but paperwork."
Spronk also wants to educate his fellow farmers about the impact that animal welfare activists are causing in their industry.
"I believe that right now we have an opportunity to defend the ability to make decisions on animal well-being on the farm and in the country and we should retain that," he said. "My fear is there is a movement to take that away from us and give it to someone in Washington, D.C., or someone in a corporate suite somewhere in a large, metropolitan area. Animal well-being decisions should stay on the farm and in farm country, with those that have the knowledge and information to make decisions, rather than someone being influenced by activists."
He plans to share information about activists so pork producers can speak with lawmakers and consumers about the issue.
The opportunity to represent his industry on the state, national and international level is an honor, he said.
"Somebody needs to stand up and make sure that a clear, concise message can be told to Congress, to regulators and to the media so that the story from farm country is told and told correctly," he said.
His past year as vice president gave him an appreciation for the dedication of NPPC staff and prior officers.
"You get to peak behind the curtain of what actually goes on and how much is done," he said.
Spronk was president for Minnesota Pork Producers Association in 1999. He began representing Minnesota as a delegate to NPPC in the mid-1990s.
He continues to be an ex-officio member of MPPA's executive board.
"He is a really good communication conduit between our state organization and the national organization," said David Preisler, MPPA executive director.
Spronk has the ability to look at the big picture, said Preisler.
"He is very concerned about all pork producers and he really has his eye on not only what's going on now but what's coming down the road and how we can educate producers," Preisler said.
Spronk is a managing partner for Spronk III LLP, which is involved in pork production, and Ranger Farms LLP, which handles crop production.
He runs Spronk Brothers with his brother, Gordon. They market 120,000 head annually.Ranger Farms grows corn and soybeans on 2,000 acres.
He and his wife, Beth, have two children: Caitlan, 25, and Seth, 21.