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Minnesota State Fair Unveils Christensen Swine Pavilion
Minnesota Ag Connection - 08/14/2019

Minnesota State Fair and State Fair Foundation officials, along with family, friends and colleagues of the late swine industry leader Bob Christensen, gathered last week for a ribbon cutting and unveiling of new 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, a visionary master of the swine industry, 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.

"Christensen Farms has been outstanding in their support of the State Fair, and there is no more appropriate place than right here to recognize the amazing legacy of Bob Christensen," said State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer. "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."

"This year, Christensen Farms is 45 years in the making. And while Bob has been gone for nearly 7 years now, his vision and his legacy lives on through the accomplishments still being seen today, including this tribute to the late Bob Christensen and the Christensen Family," Glenn Stolt, Christensen Farms chief executive officer commented. "As we honor the past and build for the future, we must keep in mind the core purpose of the Christensen Pavilion; as a showplace for youth exhibitors, its ability to light the way for the next generation in agriculture, and last but certainly not least, helping bridge the gap of where our food comes from with an increasingly urban society."

Mark Goodrich, deputy general manager of the fair provided a tour of the Robert A. Christensen Pavilion highlighting recent improvements that were made possible with the lead gift from Christensen Farms. Improvements included new wash racks built outside the building to help support biosecurity, new windows and garage doors installed on several sides of the pavilion, new pens installed in three-quarters the building, an upgraded A/V system, and more.

Additional work needs to be done and the State Fair Foundation will continue to raise funds to complete the window and stalling replacement project, replace the show rings and expand seating, improve lighting, and repair the brick exterior.

Christensen Farms is one of the largest, family-owned pork producers in the United States, 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 St. Joseph, Mo. In turn, Triumph Foods own 50 percent of Daily's Premium Meats, a specialty pork processor of bacon and other premium pork products. Triumph Foods also holds a 50 percent partnership in Seaboard Triumph Foods, LLC of Sioux City, Iowa, a primary pork processing plant.

The Minnesota State Fair Foundation's nonprofit mission is to preserve and improve State Fair buildings, the fairgrounds and educational programs. Based on the historic 1911 Minnesota State Agricultural Society creed, the Foundation believes that the Minnesota State Fair is: "a mirror of Minnesota greatness, a school for her citizens, and a place where all are welcome, entertained and experience the results of the best thought and effort in all lines of endeavor." Foundation funds benefit the fair in the areas of agricultural education, arts and culture, education, fairgrounds environment, and history and heritage.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. Showcasing Minnesota's finest agriculture, art and industry, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is always 12 Days of Fun Ending Labor Day. Visit mnstatefair.org for more information. The 2019 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 22 to Labor Day.

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