Keller Grain and Livestock, owned and operated by the Keller Family, was recognized by the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) at the 2010 IL Pork Expo in Peoria. The Keller Family, which includes Art and Alice Keller, Bob and Donna Keller, and Jason and Anna Keller and their daughter Brittany all of who live near Sainte Marie, IL, received the 2010 Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year at the IPPA Awards Banquet on February 2. This award recognizes a pork producer family who has done an outstanding job in promoting pork and has exemplified leadership skills at the county, state, and national levels. The award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.



 "The Keller Family is the epitome of IPPA's tagline - 'Illinois Pork Producers. Generations of Commitment' for their commitment to their community, the environment, their farm, and their family for three generations," said Brent Scholl, pork producer from Polo, Ill. and current IPPA President. "Like many successful family businesses, the Kellers have had to adapt their farm to changing market conditions to remain efficient and viable, while being good stewards of the land and a valuable member of their community."


Keller Grain and Livestock, owned and operated by the Keller Family, was recognized by the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) at the 2010 IL Pork Expo in Peoria. The Keller Family, which includes Art and Alice Keller, Bob and Donna Keller, and Jason and Anna Keller and their daughter Brittany all of who live near Sainte Marie, IL, received the 2010 Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year at the IPPA Awards Banquet on February 2. This award recognizes a pork producer family who has done an outstanding job in promoting pork and has exemplified leadership skills at the county, state, and national levels. The award is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.

 "The Keller Family is the epitome of IPPA's tagline - 'Illinois Pork Producers. Generations of Commitment' for their commitment to their community, the environment, their farm, and their family for three generations," said Brent Scholl, pork producer from Polo, Ill. and current IPPA President. "Like many successful family businesses, the Kellers have had to adapt their farm to changing market conditions to remain efficient and viable, while being good stewards of the land and a valuable member of their community."

Art and Alice were married on October 4, 1950. Uncle Sam called Art into service from 1951 to 1953, serving in Korea. Art started farming when he got out of the service. He began raising hogs then and started farrowing in 1964 with six Duroc gilts.

By 1965 Art & Alice had seven children Bob, Dan, Bev, Kathy, Mike, Mary Lou and Steve. Bob graduated from the University of Illinois in 1974 with a degree in Ag Engineering and decided to return home to farm, after which the operation expanded. Bob and Donna were married in 1973. Their son Jason was born in 1982.

Jason was active in 4-H and showed hogs at the Jasper County Fair for 8 years. Jason followed his father's footsteps by attending the University of Illinois graduating in 2004 from the College of ACES with an Agricultural Economics/Farm Management degree. Jason returned back to the family farm to start the 3rd generation at Keller Grain & Livestock.

Jason and his wife Anna were married in 2007. Anna is a 2006 graduate of Southern Illinois University with a degree in Ag Economics/Farm Management. Jason and Anna's daughter Brittany was born October 19, 2009. Brittany is the first (and so far only) great grandchild of Art & Alice.

Family tradition and heritage combined with the ability to constantly adapt to the changing marketplace have been a hallmark of the Kellers. The Keller family has been producing pork for 55 years in Jasper County. The farming operation has greatly changed over the years. What was once a farrowing and finishing site at the main farm has been converted to a farrow to wean sow center with 3600 sows and contracts to purchase weaned pigs. Keller Grain & Livestock currently markets approximately 140,000 pigs/year. A feed processing center is located at the site of the sow center.

The Kellers also farm 2700 acres of corn & soybeans. Many family members are involved in the success of the operation. Art does all the bookwork for the farm. Bob takes care of the day to day operations and the marketing. Jason is responsible for the crops and farrowing management. Anna works with Jason in farrowing on a daily basis and helps with planting and harvest. Besides the family members, Keller Grain & Livestock have seven other full time employees.

Although Donna is busy these days running a business of her own with her partner Debbie Hill - Simple Rewards Day Spa & Salon in Newton, she still finds time to be the occasional "Gopher" for parts, and prepares the W2's and 1099's at the end of the year.

The Kellers have been involved in the Jasper County Pork Producers for more than 40 years. Art has been a member since its inception and served as President in the 70's. Alice was a member of the Jasper County Porkettes from the beginning and served as Treasurer. Bob has been a member of the county group since 1974 and has served on the board in the 80's and the 90's serving as President.

Donna served on the Jasper County Porkette Board in the 80's and was President in 1981 and '82 and served again on the Jasper County Pork Producers Board during the 90's. Jason joined the Jasper County Pork Producers in 2004.  He has been serving on the Jasper County Pork Producers Board for the last 3 years and has held the Public Policy position and is currently serving as Vice President.

Family members have also been active in the state association. Bob served as the IPPA District 11 Director from 1999-2004 and then President of IPPA in 2003.  He also participated in Legislative Days at the State Level and in Washington, D.C.

Giving back to the community and agricultural industry has always been a trademark of this family. They have all been active through the years at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Sainte Marie. Art and Bob are 3rd and 4th Degree members of the Knights of Columbus 1704 in Newton and Bob also served on the Columbian Board. Art has been a 50 plus year member of the Sainte Marie American Legion and served as Commander.  Alice is a 50 plus year member of the Sainte Marie American Legion Auxiliary and has served as Secretary. Donna has been an Auxiliary member for more than 15 years and has served as the Chaplain for the last 10 years.

Donna and Bob have been members of the Sainte Marie Community Club over the years and both were on the planning committee for the Bi Centennial and the Sesquicentennial celebrations in Sainte Marie.  Alice and Donna are both long time members of the Sainte Marie Night Homemakers Extension Association.

Donna is currently involved with the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce and is on the Holly Jolly Jasper County Christmas Planning Committee to promote Jasper County and the businesses.

The Keller family contributes their success to the dedication and commitment of all family members and their ability to communicate and work side by side. They have also taken on changes head on and adapted their operation over the years.  The Keller family plans to continue their support of their church, community and promotion of pork on the county, state and national level and to strive to maintain their family farm for generations to come.