On Wednesday, January 12, 2000, a group of ten family pork producers met in Omaha, Nebraska. These pork producers all had expressed an interest in the idea of a closed group of pork producers investing in the pork industry beyond the farm gate as a means to add value to the pigs they grow and to add income to their swine operations. At that meeting the group voted to officially go forward to pursue future business opportunities. That vote created America’s Premium Pork.

The original eight board members of America’s Premium Pork were: Gerald Schmidt, Southeast Nebraska; Tom Dittmer, Eastern Iowa; John Kramer, Northeast Kansas; Dave Schwerin, Western Minnesota; Duane Ramsey, Southwest Kansas; Wayne Andreasen, Central Nebraska; Tom Brandt, Southeast Nebraska; and John Klein, Southeast Iowa.

From February through April of 2000, the group met periodically and had many conference calls to set goals and strategy. Starting in mid-April of that year, the plan was put in place to hire one person to conduct a series of meetings in order to recruit like-minded producers and raise the funds it would take to pay for the cost of getting a prospectus outlining the project to interested pork producers.

The organization's original plan was to partner with Farmland’s Pork Division in an organization patterned after the relationship between U.S. Premium Beef and National Beef. However, after that dialog started, Farmland Industries, the parent company, filed for bankruptcy. At that time, America’s Premium Pork’s focus changed from partnering with Farmland’s Pork Division to trying to buy the total Farmland Pork Packing and Processing operations. The bidding process to buy Farmland Pork assets out of bankruptcy was competitive, and a backup plan was developed.

The mission of “America’s Premium Pork” is to enhance the long-term economic viability of participating pork producers by forming a producer-owned company which will invest in pork processing and pork marketing assets. This company combined with its producer-owners will create an efficient, quality-driven system of live production through marketing of value-added pork products.

While America’s Premium Pork was involved in the process working through the Farmland Industries’ bankruptcy, the group became associated with other large swine producers that had similar goals as America’s Premium Pork. The backup plan was to create Allied Producers’ Cooperative as an allocation unit of the original America’s Premium Pork Cooperative.

With the newly-formed company working with other large swine producers, in 2003 the plan was set in motion to build a new packing and processing pork plant to be constructed in the Midwest and 100% owned by pork producers.

Allied Producers’ Cooperative, along with these large independent pork producers, purchased 60 acres of the St. Joseph, Missouri Stockyards and completed the construction of Triumph Foods - a state-of-the-art pork packing and processing plant. The plant started operations in January 2006.


Triumph Foods is a leading processor of premium pork products worldwide. As a producer-owned company that began operations in St. Joseph, Mo., in January 2006, the company connects every step between farms and family tables around the world. With its state-of-the-art facility, Triumph employs more than 2,800 workers and produces more than 1.5 billion pounds of pork annually. As part of a uniquely connected food system, the company and its strategic partner, Seaboard Foods, jointly own Daily’s® Premium Meats, which produces and markets raw and precooked bacon, ham and sausage. In May 2015, Triumph Foods and Seaboard Foods announced the construction of a joint venture pork processing plant, Seaboard Triumph Foods, which began operations in Sioux City, Iowa, in September 2017. Seaboard Foods markets and sells fresh pork products produced by the St. Joseph and Sioux City plants under the PrairieFresh® Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms® brands.

The mission of “Allied Producers’ Cooperative,” an allocation unit of “America’s Premium Pork,” is to support the actions of Triumph Foods by complying with production and ethical guidelines, balancing the relationship between members of Allied Producers’ Cooperative receiving the maximum return per market hog delivered to Triumph Foods and the financial strength of Triumph Foods, and continuing the creation of expansion opportunities for all America’s Premium Pork members.

Tom Dittmer
East Central Iowa 563-285-4006
Kenny Brinker
Vice President
East Missouri 573-386-5585
John Klein
Southeast Iowa 319-330-6240
Gerald Schmidt
Triumph Representative
Southeast Nebraska 402-754-4219
John Kramer Northeast Kansas 785-336-2148
Irv Sether Minnesota 573-386-5585
Michele Walter North Central Kansas 785-325-3134


  • DOREEN HANSEN: Hansen became a part of the America’s Premium Pork team in March of 2005 when the America’s Premium Pork central office was opened in Westside, Iowa. Hansen, who graduated from the Spencer School of Business and came to America’s Premium Pork after completing 11 years as the office manager of a small business in Carroll, Iowa, is serving as the CEO for the cooperative.

  • MYRA LUETJE: Luetje joined the office staff of America’s Premium Pork as a part-time office assistant in January of 2012. She had previously worked for 35 years in the banking industry.

  • CAREN KLINK: Klink joined the office staff of America’s Premium Pork as a part-time office assistant in November of 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and before joining APP she was the manager of the local convenience store.

  • DAVE KOCK (1958-2012): Kock was the acting general manager of Allied Producers’ Cooperative and had worked full-time since its creation. Kock performed all of the work associated with the creation of America’s Premium Pork and Allied Producers’ Cooperative, including recruiting membership, holding producer meetings, coordinating the equity drive, coordinating the offering with attorneys, complying with SEC regulations, and communicating with members.

    Kock was educated in Sioux City at Morningside College, where he studied Agri-Business with an emphasis in Livestock Marketing, including several classes at the Sioux City Stockyards, where he graduated with academic honors.

    Kock’s background included working as Economic Development Manager for Farmland Foods and Feed in the 1990’s. His job was creating business activity with members of local Farmers’ Co-ops throughout the Midwest that did business with Farmland Industries.

    Kock was stricken during the summer of 2012 with a neurological disorder. He was diagnosed on September 13, 2012 with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and passed away on September 25, 2012.


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