About The Eickman Family
Located in Seward Illinois, Eickman’s has been, and still is, family-owned and operated by several generations of the Eickman family. We specialize in the custom cutting of your meat orders. We do everything on-site, from the humane harvesting of livestock from local farms, to the cutting, packaging, and smoking of your meats. Whatever your needs, your options are nearly endless.
John Eickman was a Depot Agent in Seward, IL and would help local farmers butcher their livestock at their farms. When the depot was torn down in 1943, John purchased the local creamery building to slaughter livestock in. John’s son Merlyn helped his father and brothers with the slaughtering, which eventually led to Merlyn’s job in Rockford, IL at Farmer’s Feed and Locker Company where he learned to cut beef and hogs. The Rockford company furnished meat to lockers in several different cities. In 1948 Merlyn transferred to a locker in Pecatonica, five miles north of Seward.
Merlyn became the manager in Pecatonica and five years later purchased a plant of his own in Pecatonica in 1953. In 1964, Merlyn’s son Mike started working in the business at the age of 13. They continued to slaughter in Seward and process the meat in Pecatonica until 1967. At this time, they closed the Pecatonica facility and moved all operations to Seward. Once in Seward, they renamed the company Eickman’s Processing Co. The company then went through numerous additions as more space was needed, including a 2400 sq. ft. addition in 1980 adding more retail and warehouse space. In 2006, another addition of 5000 sq. ft. was added, once again expanding the retail store as well as the warehouse, cooler, freezer, and processing floor.
In 1994, Mike’s son Tom started working in the business. In 1999, Merlyn sold the company to Mike and Lori Eickman. Well past his retirement, Merlyn could often be seen at Eickman’s stopping in to do some cutting or visiting and checking in on things. In 2013, Tom’s wife Katie officially joined the business, learning the ropes and offering new ideas. Mike could be found driving the delivery truck around the region, Lori was in the office managing the books and HR aspects of the business, and Tom could be anywhere in the plant running the day-to-day operations. Tom and Katie’s young son Ashton can even be found helping out when school is not in session.
In 2019 Eickman’s lost its beloved founder, Merlyn. He is greatly missed and we strive to continue his legacy every day.
January 1, 2020 brought about other exciting changes as Mike Eickman and Lori Miatke both retired, and Tom and Katie Eickman stepped into their roles as the official owners of Eickman’s Processing Company, Inc.
Awards & Certifications
Over the years, Eickman’s has won numerous awards for their quality meat, accomplishments, and contributions to the meat industry, and they proudly support industry and local organizations. Among these awards are hundreds of State, National, and International Awards most often for their Bacon, Ham, Dried Beef, Summer Sausage and many more including Best of Beef, Best of Pork, and Innovative Pork (for their Ham Balls). A few of the more notable are the AAMP Best of Show Award for Dried Beef in 2006, and most recently three International Medals in 2016 from the German Butcher’s Association: two Gold Medals for Ham and Bacon and a Silver Medal for Dried Beef.
Other awards include the Sleeter Bull Award from the University of Illinois Meat Science Department, presented to Merlyn and Eunice Eickman in 1983, Mike and Lori Eickman in 2000, and Tom and Katie Eickman in 2014 for their contributions to the meat industry, and the Golden Cleaver from the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) several times since the establishment of Eickman’s.
The AAMP has also inducted both Merlyn and Mike into the Cured Meat Hall of Fame, in 1993 and 2009 respectively, as well as recognizing them both for an Achievement Award in 1989 and 2014.
Eickman’s has all of the proper certifications, including being certified under Animal Welfare Approved and the HACCP, and inspected by the USDA and FDA.
Organizations & Involvement
Eickman’s is a proud member of several organizations as well, including the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), the Illinois Association of Meat Processors(IAMP), and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. As Operator Members of AAMP, Merlyn held the title of president from 1980-1981, and Mike held the same title from 2000-2001. Within IAMP, they are also Operator Members, with Merlyn holding the title of president from 1966-1967 and Treasurer up until 2013. Mike held the title of president from 1993-1994, and Tom held the title from 2009-2010. Katie took over the treasurer title in 2013 and remains treasurer today. Tom is currently the 2nd vice president of AAMP.
Eickman’s also serves as part of several local organizations, as a member of Winnebago Buy Local, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, andthe Winnebago Chamber of Commerce. Merlyn and Tom also served on the Illinois Advisory Board of Livestock, where Merlyn was the commissioner from 1974-2013, and Tom took the position over and currently resides as commissioner. Tom is also a member of Rotary International via the chapter in Pecatonica, and as of January 2021 Katie is on the board of Severson Dells Nature Center.
Eickman’s takes pride in supporting local groups as often as possible. Some of these local groups include the Rockford Bacon Fest to which they are an annual sponsor, the University of Illinois Extension-JSW Local Food Group, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Rock River Valley Pantry, any FFA Meat Judging, and 4H Fairs/Livestock Auctions across several counties like Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson, Ogle, DeKalb, and McHenry.