Carl Chellevold of Richland Center, Carl Kuehne of Green Bay and Jack Link of Minong will be inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame on May 4 at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Livestock and Meat Council in Madison. For tickets to the noon luncheon or more information, please contact Dan Vogel at (608) 224-5113.
As a co-owner of Richland Locker, Carl Chellevold helped the company develop into one of Wisconsin”s finest smaller-scale meat processing businesses. Born in Ferryville, Chellevold studied to be a dairy processor before joining Richland Locker, the downtown Richland Center meat processing business co-owned by his brother. Shortly thereafter, he was called to active military duty, serving from 1943-1945. Upon his return, he re-joined Richland Locker and started buying into the business in 1952. Around that same time, Chellevold also joined the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors, serving as director for 30 years. During his directorship, he helped Wisconsin establish a state meat inspection program within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Today, the program is considered one of the best-run state programs in the nation. Chellevold is now retired, and his daughter and son-in-law own the business. Chellevold also has a long history of active participation in many local organizations.
Over the past twenty years, Carl Kuehne has successfully guided American Foods Group, Inc., making it into one of the largest food processors in the United States. Recently, the company merged with Rosen Meat Group to create American Foods Group, LLC, with Kuehne at the helm as co-chairman and co-CEO. Born in Seymour, Kuehne practiced law before purchasing Consolidated Beef Industries in 1985. He expanded and renamed the company, headquartered it in Green Bay, and quickly saw profits rise. The company now offers fresh and frozen meats, ground beef, deli meats, hams, bacon, sausages, as well as fully-cooked and case-ready meat products. American Foods Group offers innovative benefits to employees, including English as a Second Language classes. The various classes and programs helped reduce line worker turnover from 100% to 35% annually. Additionally, Kuehne has served in many leadership roles in the meat industry and in community organizations.
Under the leadership of John E. (Jack) Link, Chief Executive Officer of the company, Link Snacks, Inc. has become one of the most successful and fastest growing meat snack manufacturers in the world. Born in Minong, Link became a third-generation meat processor when he started working with his father in the family business. The idea for Link Snacks came to him during a hunting trip, when he and his sons stopped for beef jerky at a convenience store. It was tough and flavorless, and they knew they could do better using their great-grandfather’s recipes. In 1985, Link Snacks started with a kippered beefsteak, and since then has added new product lines and watched sales increase each year. The company doubled the capacity of the main Minong facility, as well as purchased facilities in South Dakota, Idaho, Iowa ,Wisconsin and New Zealand. Link has also been a longtime supporter of his local community.