Niman Ranch, the leading natural meat brand renowned for its humanely raised products, has recognized the Sandquist family of Iowa as their 2022 Farm of the Year. This accolade honors the Sandquists for their dedication to farmer mentorship, humane animal care and helping beginning farmers get started.

Harold and Dee Sandquist have been partnering with Niman Ranch since 2016, raising pigs humanely and sustainably on their family farm in Fairfield, IA. In addition to raising their own hogs, they have become dedicated ambassadors for smaller scale hog production and the Niman Ranch network. At every opportunity, they show other independent family farmers that it’s possible to raise hogs in a different way—smaller scale, outdoor-based—without going into massive amounts of debt. They’ve coached and helped many area farmers get started raising pigs and partnering with Niman Ranch.

Dee serves as a Niman Ranch farmer ambassador and spokesperson, representing the Niman Ranch brand at both local and national events reaching both consumers and the agriculture community. Harold has coached multiple farmers on everything from day-to-day operations of outdoor-based hog production to working with their local bankers on financing. They’re both valued and active members of their local community and are important partners in Niman Ranch’s success.

Their community involvement would not be possible without the help of Steve Gunderson, their farm manager and himself a Niman Ranch hog producer. Steve is responsible for the daily activities at the farm, while also helping Harold and Dee with mentoring and outreach. Harold credits Steve’s partnership and efforts with the health and quality of their hogs. In fact, this year, the Sandquists and Gunderson received a meat quality award at the annual Niman Ranch Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner, recognizing their hogs as offering the top quality among the hog farmer network.

“The strength of the Niman Ranch business model lies with our farmer network, and Harold and Dee Sandquist have been instrumental to our growth and success,” said Chris Oliviero, Niman Ranch general manager. “They are an example of the way our farmer network supports, educates and encourages each other. We value them not only as excellent producers, but also as inspirational and esteemed partners in our mission to support small farmers and rural America.”

Niman Ranch is proud to recognize the Sandquists and grateful for their dedication and passion for humane animal care and independent family farmers.

Source: Niman Ranch