DES MOINES, Iowa — The American Association of Meat Processors’ 83rd American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition proved a big draw for both meat processors and suppliers.

The event’s sold-out exposition floor boasted 262 exhibitor booths, its most ever, AAMP Executive Director Chris Young said. AAMP also appointed Darla Kiesel of Haubstadt, Ind.-based Dewig Meats as the association's president.

As always, one of the high points of the event was the American Cured Meat Championships Awards, with this year’s awards being presented Saturday, July 16, at the Iowa Events Center.

The 2022 Best of Show Clarence Knebel Memorial Award went to Bardines Country Smokehouse Inc., Crabtree, Pa. 

Following a strong showing in last year’s ACMC awards, Dewig Meats enjoyed another winning year, with the processor claiming the Cured Meat Excellence Award. The award honors the company delivering the best overall performance in the ACMC judging.

Honoring lifetimes of service

During the July 14 Welcome Session, a pair of awards recognizing long-term commitment and service to the meat processing industry were presented.

Mark Wiltshire received the 2022 F.W. Witt Supplier of the Year Award. Wiltshire was the longtime owner of Tulsa, Okla.-based EconOmarker, which he sold to North Canton, Ohio-based TemPac LLC in December 2021 after he decided to retire following a career spanning more than 40 years.

“EconOmarker has truly been a company that has stood behind the small processor and worked to help our industry be successful,” Young said when announcing Wiltshire as the award winner.

Young also presented the 2022 Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes contributions of AAMP’s affiliated associations or their personnel. The 2022 recipients of the Outstanding Service Award were Ken and Marcia Richmann, who Young said spent two decades as executive directors of the Iowa Meat Processors Association.

“They have worked to strengthen an association that had seen better days and was in need of leadership,” Young said. “They have provided that, not asking for anything in return.”