Family of the Year
Each year the Illinois Pork Producers Association recognizes a pig farming Family of the Year.
The 2017 Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year is the Zehr Family from Washington, Illinois.
Curt and his family are the proud owners of Zehr Farms. Curt currently farms 1,700 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat and operates a 140-sow farrow-to-finish farm, specializing in Durocs.
The Zehr Family has been an integral part of agriculture and, specifically pork production, in Tazewell County for many years. His interest in the pork industry started at an early age, influenced by his parents Dean and Kathy Zehr, who attended many local and state association events over the years. Dean was also active in the Illinois State Duroc Association and served as president.
Curt later kept the family tradition going and became actively involved at the county level serving as a director and officer of the Tazewell County Pork Producers, including President and served as the county 4H Fair Swine Superintendent from 1985-2014.
The deep determination and strength of this 5th generation farm family was evident in the aftermath of their home being destroyed by a tornado in November 2013. After hundreds of people from across the state came to help clean up debris, Curt concentrated on keeping the farm running and Sue went to work planning and guiding the rebuilding of their home, resulting in the move back into a new house 11 months to the day after the devastation occurred.
Curt and his wife, Sue, have three grown children, twin daughters, Angie and Beth, and a son, Michael. They also have five grandchildren. Growing up, all the children showed hogs at the Illinois State Fair and traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to show at the North American International Livestock Expo. The legacy of showing pigs in the Zehr family goes back to the 1940’s.
Like many good pork producing families, the Zehr Family has always been active in promoting pork and the pork industry. Zehr Farms has participated in the IPPA Pork and Pigskins Program the last several years at Washington High School Football games. They have also participated every year in the Illinois Pork Power program providing hogs to be used for ground pork donations at local food pantries in the area.
Over the years, the Zehr Family has strived to adapt to changes and grow their business, while being good stewards of the land, caring for their animals, being active members of their community and attending Metamora Mennonite Church. They have accomplished this by working closely together as a family and remaining true to their faith in God.
The Zehr Family.
Previous Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year Award Winners:
|1989||Carl (Mary Lou) Behme||Carlinville|
|1990||Erval (Betty) Borgic||Nokomis|
|1991||Wayne A (Marlene) Maschhoff||Carlyle|
|1992||Hilding (Joann) Allen||Princeton|
|1993||Barb (late Art) Drach||Saunemin|
|1994||Mark (Sherly) VonHolten||Lyndon|
|1994||Norm (Sue) VonHolten||Sheffield|
|1995||Donald (Saundra) Huftalin||Malta|
|1996||David (Linda) Duncan||Mendon|
|1997||Paul (Judith) McClure||Newton|
|1998||Craig (Marilyn Janssen||Lyndon|
|1999||Don (Lenora) Peter||Quincy|
|2000||Wilbur (Alice) Paulus||Lincoln|
|2001||George (Ruth) Brauer||Oakford|
|2002||Wayne (Garnet) Schlueter||Rock City|
|2003||Russell (Mary) Jeckel||Delavan|
|2004||Richard (Venita) Baker||Liberty|
|2005||Rick (Barb) Dean||LeRoy|
|2006||Jim Scheetz Family||Niota|
|2007||Roy (Fran) Weitekamp Family||Raymond|
|2008||John (Jan) Kellogg Family||Yorkville|
|2009||Nelson Family Farm||Lynn Center|
|2010||Keller Grain & Livestock||Willow Hill|
|2011||Gary (Marietta) Dunkirk Family||Morrisonville|
|2012||Scholl Family Farms||Polo|
|2013||Haag Family Farm||Emington|
|2014||Gerald (Nancy) Hartmann Family Farm||Maple Park|
|2015||Eldon Gould Family Farm||Maple Park|
|2016||Dave Conrady Family Farm||Elkhart|
|2017||Curt Zehr Family Farm||Washington|