Minnesota State Fair and State Fair Foundation officials, along with family, friends and colleagues of the late swine industry leader Bob Christensen gathered Aug. 5 for a ribbon cutting and unveiling of signage reflecting the new name of the fair’s swine barn, the Robert A. Christensen Pavilion.
Minnesota’s own Christensen Farms provided the lead gift to the State Fair Foundation’s Swine Barn Improvement Campaign to honor the legacy of the late Bob Christensen and the Christensen Family.
Christensen was an early adopter of technologies to improve biosecurity and herd health, contract production arrangements, and artificial insemination and genetic advancements. Praised for striving to make improvements throughout the entire pork production chain, he built one of the largest pork production companies in the U.S. and one of the largest family-owned pork production companies in the world.
Jerry Hammer, state fair general manager, acknowledged the farms’ strong support of the fair as well as the legacy of Christensen.
“The state fair, young exhibitors, Minnesota agriculture and millions of fair visitors will benefit from Christensen Farms' generous partnership with the Great Minnesota Get-Together,” he said.
Glenn Stolt, Christensen Farms chief executive officer, noted that Christensen has been gone for nearly seven years and that his vision and legacy live on.
“As we honor the past and build for the future, we must keep in mind the core purpose[s] of the Christensen Pavilion — a showplace for youth exhibitors, its ability to light the way for the next generation in agriculture, and [a way to help] bridge the gap of where our food comes from with an increasingly urban society,” he said.
Recent improvements made possible with a lead gift from Christensen Farms included new wash racks built outside the building, new windows and garage doors, new inside pens, and an upgraded audiovisual system.
Future updates include replacing additional window, stalls and show rings; expanded seating; improved lighting; and exterior brick repair.
About Christensen Farms
Christensen Farms is one of the largest, family-owned pork producers in the U.S., marketing approximately 3 million hogs per year. Headquartered in Sleepy Eye, Minn., the company operates throughout the Midwest with facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota. Christensen Farms owns four feed mills, manages 143,000 sows on 44 farms, and oversees more than 350 nurseries and grow finish sites. The company employs nearly 1,000 people and maintains 1,500 contract partnerships.
The company is vertically integrated with a strong presence across the pork value chain — from farm to fork. Christensen Farms is the largest shareholder of Triumph Foods LLC, a producer-owned primary pork processing plant in Saint Joseph, Mo. In turn, Triumph Foods own 50% of Daily’s Premium Meats, a specialty pork processor of bacon and other premium pork products. Triumph Foods also holds a 50% partnership in Seaboard Triumph Foods LLC of Sioux City, Iowa, a primary pork processing plant. Visit christensenfarms.com for more information.