SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The 2023 Illinois Pork Producers Association delegate body recently elected four at-large directors and three new district directors.
The IPPA board consists of six district representatives, 12 at-large positions and representatives from the following organizations, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Purebred Swine Council, National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council.
They meet quarterly to discuss promotion of pork products and meeting the needs of pig farmers across the state.
The newest district directors are Kaylee Hillinger, District 2; Beth Spiekermeier, District 3; and Will Fombelle, District 5. The newest at-large director is Randy Kuker.
Three current at-large directors were reelected to serve another term, including Chad Leman, Rachel Schulte and Cheryl Walsh. Also, recently appointed to fill an at-large vacancy is Tyler Main.
IPPA delegates also voted on the following officer team for the year:
• President — Chad Leman, Secor.
• President-Elect — Cheryl Walsh, Princeville.
• Vice President-Treasurer — Josh Maschhoff, Nashville.
• Secretary — Thomas Titus, Elkhart.
Hillinger along with her husband, Derek, two children, Ada and Myles, and two beloved dogs are new residents of Mahomet.
She has been working at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health for the past eight years in sales and marketing roles within the swine division.
Prior to that, Hillinger gained pork industry experience with multiple production systems and university research while completing her undergrad degree in animal sciences and master’s degree in animal ag production, both at the University of Illinois.
As an IPPA allied industry member, Hillinger has served on a variety of committees, including Production Tech and Research, Expo and Marketing.
Outside of work, Hillinger enjoys photography. She and her family love traveling and experiencing new cultures around the world.
They also spend a tremendous amount of time outdoors and are excited to have a new home on a couple of acres for gardening and more room to play.
Hillinger is excited to represent IPPA and is thrilled for this opportunity.
Spiekermeier is a finishing records department manager with over 17 years’ experience in multiple facets of the swine industry.
In 2005, she was a Bronze Tablet graduate from the U of I at Champaign-Urbana with a bachelor’s degree in animal science.
Following graduation, Spiekermeier joined the Carthage System and held multiple roles within both Professional Swine Management LLC and Carthage Veterinary Service Ltd., such as laboratory technician, logistics manager, and training and education coordinator.
In 2014, she transitioned to PIC as a health assurance specialist where she worked with producers and veterinarians in areas such as biosecurity, managing data, event planning and project management.
In 2021, she rejoined Carthage Veterinary Service as a junior data analyst and recently accepted the position of finishing records department manager.
Spiekermeier is passionate about helping others succeed in the swine industry, educating people and improving processes to make everyone’s lives better.
She currently lives in Carthage with her husband, twin teenage daughters and a small personal zoo, which includes a dog, a guinea pig and a bearded lizard.
Fombelle grew up on a farrow-finish swine farm near Atwood, where he was actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the farm.
His family converted their farm from sows into a contract finishing operation, which continued until his father retired in 2018.
Fombelle was also involved in 4-H and showed pigs at local and state fairs for 10 years.
Currently, he is a veterinarian and a partner in Carthage Veterinary Service based out of Teutopolis, where he lives with his wife, Michelle, and their three children, Madison, Emma and Charlie.
He works closely with clients in Illinois, as well as surrounding states, managing the health of their swine herds to ensure the success and longevity of their farms.
Fombelle enjoys interacting with the swine producers in Illinois, visiting their farms and seeing them continue to excel and grow.
He looks forward to serving on the IPPA board and being able to interact with even more Illinois pork producers.
Kuker has been working in the pork industry since 1998 after he finished serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked in both large and smaller systems in Iowa, Minnesota and, most recently, Illinois.
His background is in both sow and grow finish production and his passion has always been to develop strong teams so that they can execute proven protocols successfully, challenge one another and look for creative ways to improve performance.
Kuker is currently the director of livestock at The Equity in Effingham. He oversees a team that markets 300,000 pigs annually for four different producers.
They provide health and production management, logistics, recordkeeping, feed and labor services to their partners.
Kuker currently lives in Clinton with his fiancé. They have a blended family of eight kids, ranging from 8 to 25 years old, and welcomed their first grandchild last year.
They stay busy at home with a 40 head cow/calf operation and a couple of horses. Kuker used to be a farrier, and he still likes to do some blacksmithing and enjoys making knives from time to time.
Leman, the newly elected 2023 IPPA president, is a third-generation farmer from Woodford County. He owns Leman Farms Inc., which includes the production of hogs, corn and soybeans.
Partnering with contract growers, they market approximately 100,000 hogs each year while utilizing much of their corn production in feed rations for their pigs. In addition, they have operated a Pioneer seed dealership since 1991.
He and his wife, Staci, have been married since 1995 and have four daughters, Tessa, Darcy, Sofie and Sierra.
Leman is actively involved in his community, having previously served on the Eureka Community Unit School District school board and currently as an elder at New Castle Bible Church in Mackinaw.
Professionally, Leman is a shareholder and board member of several organizations that contribute to the livelihood of his core business — raising pigs.
Schulte and her husband, Kyle, live in Oakford with their two children, Reagan and Kendra. She grew up on a farrow-to-finish and row crop family farm, named Bauer Pork and Brooks Farms, in Cass County.
She met her husband while she was interning for the Maschhoffs in southern Illinois. During veterinary school, Rachel and Kyle had their first child, Reagan.
Schulte services farmers in southern Illinois and Indiana and has traveled to China to teach biosecurity.
As an IPPA member, she has served on the Production Technology and Research Committee and the Education and Youth Committee.
Walsh and her two daughters, Reagan and Rylie, are from Princeville. As a fourth-generation farmer, she grows corn, soybeans and hay with her family.
They also have around 35 calf/cow pairs in addition to 2,200 sows. Their farm is a breed to wean, where all weaned pigs are sold directly to a great group of customers.
For the last 10 years, Walsh has conducted the Ag in the Classroom project in Peoria County. The program started with 120 classrooms and has expanded to over 250 classrooms.
Walsh serves as the vice president on the Peoria Farm Bureau and was recently voted the 2023 IPPA president-elect.
Main works on his family’s grain and swine farm. His family grows corn and soybeans and raises pigs from wean to finish.
He earned his associate degree from Black Hawk College East and his bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, where he majored in agronomy management.
Upon graduation in 2016, Main spent the summer on a wheat harvest out west and returned home to the family farm at the end of August.
He currently serves as a director on the Knox County Soil and Water board, is active in the Knox County Young Farmers Committee through Farm Bureau and is a volunteer on the Altona Fire Department.