Sioux City, Iowa — When Paige Dagel isn’t working hard in the classroom and on the volleyball court at Briar Cliff University, she’s at home in Sanborn, Iowa, working hard on her family’s pig farm. For as long as she can remember, Dagel has been fascinated by pigs, and that fascination has become a passion and taken her all the way to an ambassador position on the Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team.
Dagel was one of three people chosen to represent the Iowa Pork Producers Association at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines in late January. Contestants are judged through interviews and communications exercises regarding the overall pork industry and agriculture knowledge.
As an ambassador, Dagel’s duties will include traveling to events like the Iowa State Fair and the Iowa Pork Expo to assist in an effort to educate others on the pork industry. Youth education is an important cause for Dagel, who grew up learning in 4-H and the FFA.
“Youth education is very important to me,” said Dagel. “I would like to attend other fairs and lead education events for youth about pork production.”
Growing up on a farm, Dagel spent a lot of time in her family’s nursery, finisher buildings, cattle yard and rabbit barn. She started Dagel Rabbitry to increase rabbit showing at the O’Brien County Fair, where she showed rabbits herself for nine years. Since then, she has sold more than 100 rabbits.
Dagel’s knowledge of pork production did not expand far beyond her family’s farm until after her eyes were opened in 2020. Dagel first applied for a position on the Youth Leadership Team in 2020, but did not know enough about pork production beyond her family farm to earn a spot on the team.
“Last year, I applied for a position on the Youth Leadership Team,” Dagel added. “I went into the competition with knowledge of pork production on my farm and was oblivious to the rest of the production cycle. As a result, I did not win a position on the team. This was one of the best things to happen to me as I went home eager to learn more about the industry.”
Dagel spent the next year learning everything she could about pork. She took as many educational opportunities as she could, including touring local farrowing units and processing plants and visiting feed meals. As a result, she earned an ambassador position for 2021.
Now, Dagel is hoping to turn her passion for pork into a career. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in social media here at Briar Cliff. Dagel has plans to work in public relations for a pork company or in pork management.
“We are very excited for and proud of Paige Dagel’s achievement and role as Ambassador,” said head volleyball coach Lindsey Weatherford. “The position is something she has spent many hours working toward outside of her time as a student-athlete. Paige’s time spent learning about leadership, networking with others in her chosen field and educating Iowa youth will translate to the classroom and court at BCU. We are excited to see how this opportunity helps her grow as a person and a leader on and off the court.”
Dagel is proud of her role in the pork industry and knows how important the industry is to the rest of the world.
“We’re proud of what we do as producers,” Dagel commented. “It’s important for us to share our story. As pork producers, it is our responsibility to provide the safest, highest quality pork to Iowans and the world. We’re working to keep our rural communities thriving and our state economy strong. Be sure to thank an Iowa Pork Producer for producing delicious pork!”