I enjoy writing my cover stories each month and getting to write an in-depth look at a leading meat or poultry processor. Of the six cover stories I get to write each year, the Independent Processor of the Year story in August tends to be one of my favorites. We’re looking for candidates to participate in this annual event. Here is a look at our past winners:

2014: Queen City Sausage, Cincinnati, Ohio
Queen City Sausage is the last surviving sausage processor in Porkopolis. Founder Elmer Hensler started the company in 1965 and still works in the office daily. While its brand is a traditional favorite in Cincinnati, the company continues to grow its product portfolio with new items. It also gives away thousands of sausages every year by participating in various charitable events around the city.

2015: Dole & Bailey, Woburn, Mass.
Dole & Bailey has been a staple of the Massachusetts food community for hundreds of years. As both a further processor and a distributor, it supplies steaks, seafood, produce and other specialty foods to leading restaurants across the East Coast. It works with many family farms and fisheries to provide locally raised products, meeting the transparency needs of its clientele.

2016: Western’s Smokehouse, Greentop, Mo.
From its start as a small meat market, Western’s has grown to become a leading manufacturer of snack sticks, both branded and private label. A recent expansion dramatically increased its manufacturing space, allowing it to grow its customer base.

2017: Godshall’s Quality Meats, Telford, Pa.
Godshall’s is one of the top processors of turkey bacon in the country. Its business has grown so dramatically that it has expanded its facilities numerous times in recent years. With all the growth, it has invested heavily in solar technology as part of its ongoing efforts to be as sustainable as possible.

2018: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing, Elmwood, Wis.
Jake Sailer is an award-winning butcher and meat processor who was inducted into the Cured Meats Hall of Fame last year. Sailer’s Food Market has won countless state and national cured meats competitions. On top of supplying Elmwood with quality sausages, steaks and other products, he also gives back to his community by dropping paper plate UFO’s during the town’s annual festival from his airplane.

Has your company demonstrated not only financial success, but success in sustainability, community partnership and employee relations? Does it represent all the best qualities of a modern-day meat company while still producing mouth-watering meat and poultry products? Contact Sam Gazdziak to learn how to submit your company in our annual contest. The winning processor will be featured in the August issue of Independent Processor.

For more information, email Sam at gazdziaks@bnpmedia.com.