A ribbon cutting and unveiling of new signage reflecting the new name of the State Fair’s swine barn, the Robert A. Christensen Pavilion, was held Aug. 5.

Minnesota State Fair and State Fair Foundation officials, along with family, friends and colleagues of the late swine industry leader Bob Christensen, gathered on Aug. 5 for a ribbon cutting and unveiling of new signage reflecting the new name of the fair’s swine barn, the Robert A. Christensen Pavilion.

Minnesota’s own Christensen Farms provided the lead gift to the State Fair Foundation’s Swine Barn Improvement Campaign, to honor the legacy of the late Bob Christensen and the Christensen Family. Christensen, a visionary master of the swine industry, was an early adopter of technologies to improve biosecurity and herd health, contract production arrangements, and artificial insemination and genetic advancements. Praised for striving to make improvements throughout the entire pork production chain, he built one of the largest pork production companies in the U.S. and one of the largest family-owned pork production companies in the world.

“Christensen Farms has been outstanding in their support of the State Fair, and there is no more appropriate place than right here to recognize the amazing legacy of Bob Christensen,” said State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer. “The State Fair, young exhibitors, Minnesota agriculture and millions of fair visitors will benefit from Christensen Farms' generous partnership with the Great Minnesota Get-Together.”

“This year, Christensen Farms is 45 years in the making. And while Bob has been gone for nearly seven years now, his vision and his legacy lives on through the accomplishments still being seen today, including this tribute to the late Bob Christensen and the Christensen Family,” said Glenn Stolt, Christensen Farms Chief Executive Officer. “As we honor the past and build for the future, we must keep in mind the core purpose of the Christensen Pavilion: as a showplace for youth exhibitors, its ability to light the way for the next generation in agriculture, and last but certainly not least, helping bridge the gap of where our food comes from with an increasingly urban society.”

Mark Goodrich, deputy general manager of the fair provided a tour of the Robert A. Christensen Pavilion, highlighting recent improvements that were made possible with the lead gift from Christensen Farms. Improvements included new wash racks built outside the building to help support biosecurity, new windows and garage doors installed on several sides of the pavilion, new pens installed in three-quarters the building, an upgraded A/V system, and more.

Additional work needs to be done and the State Fair Foundation will continue to raise funds to complete the window and stalling replacement project, replace the show rings and expand seating, improve lighting, and repair the brick exterior.