2009 Production Agriculture
Christensen’s success can be attributed to an immense drive, commitment to excellence and sheer determination to be the best.
Bob Christensen began Christensen Farms in 1974 in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, when a neighbor who wanted to encourage his entrepreneurial spirit in livestock gifted him and his brother Lynn two bred gilts. Today, Christensen Farms—the third largest pork producer in the nation—is still privately owned by the Christensen family and employs 1200 people across six states. It has contract production relationships with 450 independent family farmers and markets four million hogs each year, or enough pork to feed 14.5 million people.
A 1980 graduate of Sleepy Eye High School, early on Christensen had a vision for efficient and sustainable food production in the Midwest. After several tours of swine operations in North Carolina, Christensen was able to bring those technologies to the Midwest and evolve those ideas into what is today’s integrated systems. Christensen was an early adopter of production technologies such as the three-site system to improve biosecurity and herd health, contract production arrangements, artificial insemination and genetic improvement programs.
As a result, today Christensen Farms is an industry leader, working to continuously improve and drive results throughout all aspects of the pork chain, from feed manufacturing and manure management to genetic improvement, production and processing. His vision for high quality, wholesome and affordable pork products continues to evolve through his investment in Triumph Foods, a state-of-the-art pork processing plant that opened in 2006 and processes 19,000 hogs a day.
Professional success aside, Christensen also has an impressive track record of giving back to the community and to youth. He is a long time supporter of 4-H and FFA, as well as a key donor to the Miracle of Birth Center and the Animal Learning Center—exhibits at the both the Minnesota and Iowa State Fair that feature the live births of piglets, calves, lambs and other farm animals and is designed to educate the public on modern livestock production.