okPORK PAGES official magazine of the Oklahoma Pork Council | www.okpork.org
Volume 20 | Issue 1 | Spring 2016
Celebrating 20 Years!
Contents Spring 2016
3 | Executive Review 4 | President Speaks 6 | Butch Young: Hall of Fame Award Winner
8 | Gayle Mortenson: Distinguished Service Award Winner
10 | Oklahoma Pork Congress Details 12 | Meet the Speaker: Q&A with Kevin Folta
15 | Sherrer and Peterson Honored 16| 2015:Year In Review 21 | SQ 777: The Right to Farm Amendment
22 | A Look Back at 20 Years of okPORK PAGES and the Pork Industry
24 | Making A Very Merry Christmas
okPORK PAGES Spring 2016 | Volume 20 | Issue 1 BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS President | Keith Reiner, Enid President Elect | Cathy Vaughan, Rosston Vice President | Robbie Woods, Enid Treasurer | Phil Olipahnt, El Reno BOARD MEMBERS Darren Appleton, Enid Tina Falcon, Tecumseh Dottie King, Calvin Joe Popplewell, Stillwater Chris Wallis, Allen EX OFFICIO Dr. Scott Carter, Stillwater Wathina Luthi, Gage Brett Ramsey, Jones Rob Richard, Stillwater STAFF Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. | firstname.lastname@example.org Office Manager Donna Jackson | email@example.com Communications Specialist Kristin Alsup | firstname.lastname@example.org Event and Outreach Specialist Lloyd Hawkins | email@example.com OKLAHOMA PORK COUNCIL 901 North Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380 Oklahoma City, OK 73104-3206 Phone 405.232.3781 • Fax 405.232.3862 Toll free in Okla. • 888.SAY.PORK WEBSITE | www.okpork.org okPORK PAGES is the official publication of the Oklahoma Pork Council and is published four times per year in March, June, September and December by the Oklahoma Pork Council. Programs are made available to pork producers without regard to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. The Oklahoma Pork Council is an equal opportunity employer. All Pork Pages inquiries should be directed to the okPORK office or firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Cover A look back at some of the previous covers of the okPORK PAGES as we enter the 20th year of publication.
design by Nikki Snider 2
Writer | Kristin Alsup Designer | Nikki Snider Editor | Donna Jackson
Polishing the Brass
by Roy Lee Lindsey
Buzzwords. They are everywhere. They are probably overused by everyone from individuals to businesses. We’re guilty of that in agriculture and our critics are certainly guilty of it. So, in spite of my recognition of this, I’d like to talk a little about one of those buzzwords – continuing improvement. For as long as I’ve been at okPORK, our industry has demonstrated a constant commitment to improve every aspect of business — from caring for the environment, providing for our animals and increasing the amount of meat we can produce, all while reducing our carbon footprint. Continuous improvement is not just a buzzword in the pork industry, it is a way of life. It is a constant. The pork industry was the first livestock species group to recognize the need for a quality assurance program so we introduced Pork Quality Assurance. Since its introduction, many improvements and revisions have been made to PQA and today we have PQA Plus. PQA Plus still has the same basics we started with all those years ago but we adapted to include animal care. As we talk to consumers about how we raise hogs today, one thing we know for certain is the consumer doesn’t expect us to be perfect but they expect us to strive to get better every day – work for continuous improvement. What does this mean on your farms? You know better than I do all the things you’ve introduced and adopted on the farm to demonstrate your commitment to improvement. Some of those things involve animal care. The environment has been a focus as I talk to producers who have specific protocols to review regarding the water system on the farm to make sure they use only the water they must for their animals and not a drop more. Others have replaced the lights in the barns with newer technologies that use a fraction of the electricity they did 10 years ago. I know that many of you as farm owners and managers embrace these improvements, recognize the value of them to your business as you look to the future. But are you sharing that vision of the future with your employees? Do they understand why continuous improvement is important to your farm and to our industry? Do you remind them that proper animal care is an every day job and every day they should be trying to be a little better than they were the day before? As I was driving somewhere last month I heard a story on the radio and I think it fits perfectly in this discussion about continuous improvement. A man was invited to be a guest on a ship for a short cruise. He was a guest of the captain and as he was getting a tour of the ship, he couldn’t help but notice all
the brass everywhere and how it was polished. Not just in a few places but throughout the entire ship, the brass looked shiny and new – like someone had just polished it. Recognizing this must take a lot of work, the man asked the captain how often they polished the brass. We polish it every day, said the captain. We know that once we stop polishing, it begins to get dirty and starts to look bad so we just never stop polishing it. We may not get to every piece of brass every day, but we are polishing the brass every day. Are you “polishing the brass” every day? It is important for all of us in the industry to remember that continuous improvement is just that – it’s something we must work on every day. It can’t be in fits and spurts. It must happen every day. Just like the ship’s crew trying to maintain the shine and luster on all that brass. It has to be an area of emphasis every day.
Passing the Torch
H by Keith Reiner
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas as well. One thing they had in common was all of the ICE… so much of it. I heard Santa had chains on his sleigh and his reindeer wore cleats when he came through Oklahoma. It has been a most interesting end to this year for sure. I hope everyone fared well during the storms and power outages. Try for a second to imagine if our animals weren’t kept inside the barns – where they were warm, cozy, watered and fed throughout all this bad weather. Can you even begin to dream of what the animal rights groups would be yelling? Can you hear them telling us we should put them inside, or that it is cruel to have them out in this horrible weather? I didn’t notice any protesters, see any drones or hear of an undercover video being released in the bad weather. I guess our friends in the many activist groups are just fair weather people. They must not want to see what really happens in and around a farm when you don’t have electricity and are running on generator power. I guess they don’t want to see those times when even people don’t have power at home, the schools are closed and farmers are doing anything it takes to get to work – knowing there are animals to tend to. I want to simply say a giant thank you to the pig farmers and to all of the many farmers in all of agriculture for weathering the storm, like it was any other day. We are such an uncaring bunch us farmers aren’t we? Okay got that off my chest… Where does time go? It has been an entire year and my time as okPORK Board President will come to an end very shortly. What a great time I had too. I truly have enjoyed it, and I am thankful I still have two years of service on the Board. I promise I don’t plan to stop working hard to make Oklahoma the best place in the United States to raise baby pigs. This time has been not only a pleasure but also a great learning experience for me. I have tried to learn as much about the companies and contract growers around our state as I could – simply to get a better understanding of how we all work together in different ways, in the same industry, making it one hell of a place to work, if that makes any sense. We’re all in this together so we need to depend on each other for help, advice and direction. We will all be better for it. I want to thank Roy Lee Lindsey and the staff at okPORK for all their help this past year. They are a great staff and I have a greater appreciation now for all they do around the state for our 4
industry. We couldn’t be where we are without them. I have seen the positive influence we have as an organization at the state Capitol and with other organizations – both as a part of agricultural pursuits and outside of agriculture. We are in a good place as okPORK and it’s thanks to the staff and the Board for working so hard to make our group great and for keeping it that way. I feel the hard work will pay great dividends this next year in our fight to pass SQ777, and we are going to need everyone to work hard at it. The Board is a great bunch full of hard workers – but we also know how to have fun. It’s not too often you can bring so many people from different backgrounds and different companies, have them come together for one cause and make it work. You know what? We do it. It’s a pretty special bunch of people working in the pork industry. Long hours, hard work and a 24 – 7 responsibility make it look scary. However, I don’t think you’ll find a better group of people. I want to take a little time to say thank you to Roberts Ranch for allowing me the opportunity and time away from work to become more involved. I now have a better understanding about how the industry works, not just in Oklahoma, but also around the country. Knowledge is power but also increased opportunity to be a better employee and I’m glad the company I work for recognizes that fact. Thank You. Cathy Vaughan will assume the seat as okPORK Board President at Oklahoma Pork Congress. I assure you she will do a fantastic job and have a positive influence on the industry. I hope I did my part and I will continue to represent Oklahoma Pork proudly. Fair winds and following seas… I will see you around, since I’m not going anywhere.
June 26 - July 1, 2016 Youth Leadership Camp
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Don’t miss this great experience. Apply for okPORK Youth Leadership Camp today! Applications must be post marked by March 29. Must be a student finishing their sophomore, junior or senior year of high school. Check out www.okpork.org for stories from last year and more information.
okPORK Honorees photo and story by Kristin Alsup
2016 Hall of Fame Award: Butch Young
’ve known Butch as the best swine auctioneer in the country,” said Kim Brock, the Farm Operations Manager at Oklahoma State University and okPORK Hall of Fame honoree. “That is what I have known Butch as, first and foremost.” The Oklahoma Pork Council is honored to induct Butch Young into the okPORK Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is intended for people like him and without his many contributions the pork industry in Oklahoma would be a very different business. But how does one become the best swine auctioneer in the country? What does that path look like? How does one auctioneer affect an entire industry? Young is the man to do it and his path started in Woods county, Oklahoma. Becoming an auctioneer “I was raised in a little town called Dacoma, Okla., by an aunt and an uncle,” Young says. “I started the fourth grade with them and that’s home to me. I went through high school. I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to graduate from Oklahoma State. I graduated from there in 1961.” Shortly after graduating with his animal science degree from OSU, Young took on the job of the Swine Herdsman for the school. It was a job he didn’t get to keep for long, although one he mentions when he talks about his history. 6
“Before I really got started in it, I got one of those letters in the mail that says ‘Greetings’ from the President you know. So I spent 735 days and 18 hours in the United States Army,” Young said without breaking his stride. He had held the position at OSU less than two years when he was drafted. When his time with the Army concluded, he was told by his former superiors at OSU he had a job there if he wanted. Showing the kind of man he is, he declined the offer knowing if he took a position someone currently holding the position would lose their job. Young continued his history, “When I came home from there, through the encouragement of some good people, I went to auction school. I decided that was sure enough what I wanted to do then.” He worked for a few years for the Poland breed association before striking out on his own to become a full-time auctioneer. It wasn’t always easy but “from a little bit of nothing it just got better,” he said. The auctioneer with a voice people truly hear “I’ve known Butch Young since the mid-60s and I think without question if you were looking for that auctioneer who could bring you the most value to that set of animals Butch Young is the name that would come to the forefront rather quickly and he was sought after from breeders from all across this country,” Rick Maloney, okPORK Hall of Fame honoree said. During a time in the pork industry when hog breeders were making a large portion of their revenue by selling purebred breeding stock, the livestock auctions were key to making the farm run. A good auctioneer was more than someone who could call numbers and take bids. “What is now the National Swine Registry was in those days independent breed associations; and those associations would hold what they called “type conferences.” Those heads and boards of directors would be the first to tell you that Butch was the one they would want on the block at their diamond events,” Maloney said with conviction. A talented auctioneer knew the histories of the breeders, the genetics of the herds and held memories of previous sales. Only a true master could use the knowledge to create the atmosphere surrounding the auction arena to benefit the breeders and help them succeed. Young was the best kind of auctioneer. “He was always working for the breeder,” Brock said. “His knowledge of the industry is very important, but it was his wit, his personality, his entertaining value as an auctioneer that I always thought made him the very best.” Young kept busy all across the United States with conferences and production sales. There were times when he would have to finish one sale and meet his wife, Rosie, who would be sitting in the car with it running waiting to haul off to the next sale. He was an integral part of many events in which he was involved. Several came up during interviews such as the Payne County Jr. Livestock Premium Auction, the OSU Animal Science Alumni Auction and the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Sale.
Oklahoma Swine Breeders Sale “Way back when I was in high school they were held at the Tulsa State Fair in the fall of the year,” Young said about the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Sale. “Then it was in Oklahoma City at the junior livestock show. Then they decided it was getting too big for those kind of deals, so the Board of Directors – bless their hearts and who they were – finally had it end up at Guthrie, Okla.” As Young talked of the sale, one could tell it was with fond memories. He spoke of the people who ran the show with a smile on his face. He spoke of how only Oklahomans could enter animals into the sale. His entire face lit up with pride as he spoke about it not being important how old the breeder was, how much experience they had or how many head of sows they farrowed – just the quality of the animal entered. For the time, the sale broke records and made headlines in the agricultural world. Some of them were bigger than some of the Type Conferences of the day and constantly drew attention. “The funniest thing I can remember about the sale is that we had seven in a row that totaled over $100,000,” Young said. “Right about the time of the seventh the market took one of those downward spirals. Then Dr. Bill Luce who managed that for all of those years, he asked me if we could have eight in a row. I told him yes, but we were going to have to cancel two or three of them until the market comes back.” Sadly, after the seventh sale which totaled more than $100,000 another one never quite hit the mark. However, looking back you can see the history of what the sale brought to the industry, to Oklahoma and how Young was able to help influence the industry. “It set the standard, I think, for what you could do bringing all hogs together and selling them under one platform.” Maloney said. “Certainly as we look at some of those major events like the World Pork Expo, the Fall Classic in Duncan and you can see the success of those events and know that the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Sale was one of the first to bring all breeds together. Butch was a key part of the success of that event and helping it grow and become what it was.” Hall of Fame Bound His ability and renown kept him busy all across the country but it never kept Young from telling people that the best people, the best pigs and the best animal science program could be found in Oklahoma. He recruited good folks from across the country and brought them home, he inspired young students to follow their animal science passion and he gave pig raising kids the incentive to keep at it. Where would our current pork industry be without the strength of the past and the nurturing of the students. Butch Young is a perfect fit for the space labeled 2016 okPORK Hall of Fame inductee.
okPORK Honorees photo and story by Kristin Alsup
2016 Distinguished Service Award: Gayle Mortenson
t doesn’t happen often in a person’s life that they are gifted with a best friend. It isn’t often one meets the kind of person who is genuinely able to pay attention to the tiny details of the world around them – and enjoy doing so. Once you have met Gayle Mortenson, you will have met both. It doesn’t matter if you have known her for one day or for 20 years, conversations with her feel as though you have always been friends. It is an honor to get to know her and a privilege to get to honor her as the 2016 okPORK Distinguished Service award recipient. While no one among okPORK knows her better than her husband Myrl, Keith Reiner, the okPORK Board of Directors president has been a part of Roberts Ranch for more than a decade and is pleased to be a part of the Board who chose to honor Gayle. ”Gayle is a country girl,” Reiner said. “She isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get dirty if something needs to be done. I tried to remember the first time we met – but I can’t. It’s like I’ve always known her. She’s just that kind of person, you feel like she’s your friend you haven’t seen in 20 years even though you know you just met.” A country girl from Arizona Gayle lived in southeastern Arizona while she was growing up. That is where she met Myrl. She lived in a little town called Elfrida which was just about 20 minutes from the Mexican border. “I was a cattle rancher’s daughter and I was dating Myrl who was a hog farmer,” Gayle said while laughing. “On our dates we would dock tails and give iron shots. That was a date. Then we got married.” 8
After they married, the hog market in Phoenix moved to Los Angeles. Then Gayle and Myrl decided it was time to take advantage of new opportunities. In the mid-1980s Myrl was recruited to go to Thailand, but since they had small children Gayle says, while chuckling, she responded with, “You got something else?” It was then Myrl went to work for PIC, or the Pig Improvement Company – the largest swine genetic company in the world, to be the genetic nucleus manager. It was shortly after that a large sale to a contingent from China occurred and Gayle found herself hired by PIC as well – as the exporter. “Mr. and Mrs. Wooley were the owners of PIC and she ran the international department. She was hiring to get this Chinese shipment off the ground and she had like 40 applicants but I was the only one who could read her English handwriting,” Gayle said while laughing out loud. “It was a lot of detail work.” Shipping breeding stock around the world Calling her job ‘a lot of detail work’ might have been like saying ‘there’s quite of bit of water in the ocean.’ Can you imagine all of the steps it takes to ship one animal from Kentucky to Chicago? Now from Chicago to China. Oh wait, there’s no farm in China to grow that pig, breed it or farrow its future babies. Now imagine the process for several hundred animals. It was an enormous job. The pigs were being raised on the farm in Kentucky. There were somewhere around 5,000 animals raised and approximately 2,000 were to be sorted and sent to the Chinese buyers. It was at this point it became necessary for things to become more efficient than they had been before. “We were the first people in Kentucky to automate health papers, so they came out on a big spool,” Gayle said. “We just ran thousands of them.” The pigs they were putting together to ship were among the first pigs to be shipped into China when the market opened and became available for such a thing. However, the first hurdle was building the correct type of farm in China to house the animals they were planning to have shipped across the ocean. “My job was to go about Kentucky and acquire all the material it would take to build the pig farm in China. We were trying to use all the materials from the state we were in. We then had to ship all of the equipment to Jacksonville, Fla. and we put it on a slow boat to China.” Laughing again, Gayle said. “That term then had a new meaning to me.” When the slow boat arrived in China, the contingent there began converting a former poultry farm into a pig farm. It wasn’t long from then to when the 50 pound pigs were loaded onto trucks in Kentucky and began their travels. From Kentucky they went across land to Chicago and then from Chicago they took to the skies. “They tell me it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records – I’ve never had time to stop and look and see if it’s there, although I have a t-shirt to prove it – because it was the world’s largest breeding stock export from the United States. It was 1,839 pigs in 747s from Northwest Orient Airlines.” There was a stop in Anchorage and an opportunity to shuffle pigs from one plane to another in 40 feet of snow. Also, another
small hurdle was the unloading of the animals upon arrival in China. Without the assistance of the kind of automation available in the U.S., it was necessary to build a ramp to offload the pigs. However, the planes landed in the wrong order and the plane with the ramp was the last to arrive in China. “The Chinese contingent marched right up the plane stairs in their uniforms and took each one of the pigs off by hand. It was amazing the cooperation. It was gentle, it was humane and it was awe-inspiring,” Gayle remembered. Devotion to animal welfare One of the traits anyone will notice as they discuss animals with Gayle is her dedication to the best possible animal care. It goes hand in hand with farming and there is no divide. However, in the ten years she was involved with shipping pigs as the exporter Gayle was responsible for more than 100,000 pigs and there was a less than one percent death loss. “Animal welfare is so important to Myrl and I. There was a really low death loss on the shipments I made, but when there was it was mournful. It was mournful because it was usually human error, like the pilot wouldn’t turn the air conditioner on soon enough.” Once the animals were on the ground in China the animal care didn’t stop. There was always someone there to help the new owners take control of the animals and learn the ropes until the pigs were acclimated. Therefore, there was no death loss there as well. “At the same time that Gayle was working for the international group, she was responsible for developing their health assurance group,” said Joe Popplewell, an okPORK Board of Directors member and former PIC coworker. “She helped develop these guidelines and testing policies centered around animal health. She also was very much involved with veterinarians and all of the aspects that are involved in the We Care principles.” There is no doubt that her attention to detail continues to serve the companies she has worked for in the past, the companies and organizations she is currently involved with and all those which she will come into contact with in the future. A lady deserving of honor It has been said of the Mortenson’s multiple times that Oklahoma is lucky they decided to settle here. The Oklahoma Pork Council is proud to honor an Oklahoman like Gayle Mortenson. A woman who has not only meant so much to the industry around the world, but also to the community in which she lives and serves. “Who is more deserving than someone who has been involved with every aspect of our company and helping the pork industry around the world and even here in the U.S. grow,” Myrl said. “She’s involved in all of the decisions but she is the one who realizes that we always need to be involved as pork producers to be giving back to the communities we live in. She’s the kind of person, it’s never about her, it’s about what is best for mankind.” However, since the story began with the okPORK Board of Directors President, it will finish with him as well. “No one knows these stories about Gayle and I am glad everything she has done for the industry will be brought to light.” Reiner said smiling.
Friday, February 26, 2016 Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center 2501 Conference Dr, Norman, OK 73069
Registration Morning refreshments available in the lobby
Update on National Issues and Programs National Pork Board & National Pork Producers Council
Friends of okPORK Panel Several core groups okPORK donates to and works with each year share about their programs and answer okPORK member questions.
Luncheon – Youth 4 Pork Speech Contest winner
okPORK Update – Roy Lee Lindsey
Legislative Update McSpadden and Associates
Right to Farm panel discussion
okPORK Annual Business Meeting
Keynote with Kevin Folta
Reception and Silent Auction
okPORK Awards Banquet
Items needed for Pork Congress Auction The 2016 silent and live auctions are taking a new direction, as we have talked about before. For the auction in 2016 the Board of Directors decided the proceeds from the auctions will be donated to Oklahoma Farmers Care in support of State Question 777 also known as the Right to Farm. The okPORK Board of Directors feels it is vital to put our full support behind this effort and this is one way we can help put dollars into it. “We would expect in 2017 to return to a PAC auction where we will continue to support the extremely important work
toward our long-term success at the Capitol,” okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey said. “Given the importance of the passage of SQ 777 our Board felt this one-time deviation from our PAC fundraising plan would help us focus every resource we have available to us on SQ 777.” If you are interested in donating to the auction or want to know more about what is going to be sold, feel free to contact the okPORK office for more information.
Public Notice by Oklahoma Pork Council And the National Pork Board The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2017 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 2016, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Pork Congress and Annual Meeting which will be held at the Embassy Suites Norman Hotel & Conference Center in Norman, Okla. All Oklahoma pork producers are invited to attend. Any producer age 18 or older who is a resident of Oklahoma and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers
are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted. If you are interested in being a candidate, please prepare a short (1/2 page) biography telling about yourself and send it to the Oklahoma Pork Council, ATTN: Election Committee, 901 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380, Oklahoma City, OK 73104 to arrive by February 22, 2016. Nominations can be made from the floor. For more information, contact the Oklahoma Pork Council. Telephone: 888-SAY-PORK (729-7675) or 405-232-3781.
New okPORK Board Member Needed At the okPORK Annual Meeting, the membership of okPORK will elect three members to the okPORK Board of Directors. The east district seat that is open is held by Dottie King. King is not eligible for reelection. The open at-large seat is held by Robbie Woods who is eligible for reelection. The open west district seat is held by Darren Appleton and he is eligible for reelection. The west district is composed of counties west of I-35 and includes those counties which contain I-35. The east district includes all counties east of I-35. Any paid okPORK member in
Oklahoma can run for and vote for the at large board members. If you are interested in running for the Board of Directors please submit a photo and bio to okPORK. We will publish your bio for the Pork Congress participants to review before the election. We will also take nominations from the floor during the meeting and candidates will have the opportunity to address the okPORK membership prior to the election.
You Can Request Changes to the OPC Bylaws The Oklahoma Pork Council bylaws provides a process for it’s members to submit changes to those bylaws and it’s amendments. As a reminder, below is the process you can follow to submit any requested changes. If you have questions, feel free to contact any member of the okPORK board or staff. Changes to bylaws or amendments A. Proposed bylaws or amendments to bylaws must be
submitted in writing to the okPORK Board of Directors 30 days prior to the annual meeting. Please mail them to the okPORK office at 901 N. Lincoln Blvd, Suite 380, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. B. Bylaws changes or amendments to bylaws must be approved by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the membership at an annual meeting. 11
Meet the Speaker
Q&A With Dr. Kevin Folta
f you read the okPORK Pages last magazine, you may remember the name Kevin Folta. He will be the keynote speaker at Pork Congress and is a professor in and chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He got his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, and he has worked at the University of Wisconsin before settling in at the University of Florida. Dr. Folta researches the functional genomics of small fruit crops, the plant transformation, the genetic basis of flavors, and studies at photomorphogenesis and flowering. Folta took a few minutes to answer a few questions and allow for a quick peak into his life. okPORK: Tell us a little bit about what a day in your life looks like. Folta: I’m a professor and department chair at the University of Florida. It might be the best job in the world. Not only do I get to teach students, but I get to help faculty, and contribute to our state’s agricultural industries. We see the products of our research in journals and on store shelves. In addition, my research program studies how light affects the traits of high value crops. How can just applying a little bit of LED light at the right time bring more money for growers? Also, we’re interested in flavors and aromas, and how we can make high-value fruits and vegetables taste better and grow with fewer inputs. It’s about better products for consumers, bigger profits for our growers and less environmental impact. My day is the same, seven days a week. I answer emails and phone calls and finish the things that were due yesterday. I do a lot of writing for my research group, but also a lot of writing for public audiences, particularly in the areas of food and farming. I want them to understand what our producers do, help them appreciate the food they have, and help them dream about modern solutions to agricultural challenges. okPORK; How did you become passionate about working in the agricultural industry and talking about GMOs? Folta: My job is to solve problems. I’ve always viewed 12
genetic engineering as a tool in my toolbox. I’m surrounded by brilliant scientists that do outstanding work to bring the technology of the lab to products in the field, and that’s not just genetic engineering. It is about getting our best tools to our growers to make food for those that need it. If genetic engineering can do that safely, then we need to use it. The passion comes from frustration. Good people want to develop technology that helps others, but it is being blocked by special interests. That’s horrible. We have solutions that can help the farmer, the consumer, the needy and the environment, but they can’t be used because of manufactured fear. I think we need to fix that. okPORK: Tell me a little more about what your life has been like in the public eye during your career and where that has led. I’ve been communicating topics of genetic engineering to public audiences for 15 years, and social media has provided an effective conduit to amplify that message. However, the internet can be an ugly place where folks are quick to become vicious to those that communicate concepts that are not in keeping with their beliefs. I’ve become increasingly effective changing hearts and minds. No question. In 2015 activist groups targeted me with well-financed, personal attack. They used Freedom of Information Act laws to obtain three years of emails. I didn’t think that was a big deal, as I have nothing to hide. Of course, when you give people three years of emails, and they want you quiet, they find a way to manufacture a horrible story. I’ve been enduring personal and professional hardship for months, endless threats, attacks and distortions. It is really sad. Just a quick search of Google Images with my name gives you a taste of what I’ve had to endure. I eventually had to back out of public communication with the exception of a few cases. It is a modern witch hunt. Using the power of the internet, activists can harm others personally and professionally. The good news is that I’ve always told the truth. My funding is all public knowledge and I have 100 percent transparency. Despite their claims of me just being a mouthpiece
for Ol’ Monsanto, they’ve never financed my research, and nobody tells me what to say. The activists just use minor and appropriate interactions as evidence of some sort of criminal collusion. It is a way to marginalize my credibility in teaching an important science. okPORK: What is the last book you read you had a hard time putting down? Folta: I’m currently working with “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. I’m learning why people are weird, and how I can communicate with them better. This book makes a lot of sense, and speaks about how people think. If I know how they think, it is easier to teach them. okPORK: What do you listen to on long car rides? Folta: Podcasts. Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria, Prism Podcast, League of Nerds, Adam Carolla, and a few others. I also like listening to books and practicing foreign language. okPORK: What is the number one thing you wish people knew about your job, industry and/or passion if you could make it part of the common knowledge tomorrow? Folta: I wish the public realized the quality of science that is happening in their universities. I’m surrounded by the world’s experts, working for the public good, generating knowledge and products. We teach the students, help on the farm, and talk to the citizens—we do it all. We continue to do it in antiquated facilities and with severe pinches in resources. While I appreciate what we have, I’d like to see the public appreciate us more and demand more resources move our direction. We’d use them wisely to invest in future innovations for the public good. okPORK: What is the best meal you have ever eaten? That’s a tough one. I can think of lunch of fish, potatoes and beans over a fire and rocks on a Canadian lake with my father. Good stuff. Christmas dinner at my parents’ house was always great. At the same time eating as a guest in China brought a table of a thousand flavors and strange foods I never experienced. Each of those is memorable. okPORK: Have you been to Oklahoma before, if so – what do you remember most. I have family that raises black angus on an operation that spans the OK-AR border. I’ve visited there a few times and appreciated their community and hospitality. I spent some time with my dad Crappie fishing near that farm and will never forget some of the slabs we hauled out. Oklahoma has always been a great destination with wonderful memories. okPORK: What is your favorite part of a pig to eat and how do you like it cooked? Folta: I grew up in a house where it was said, “We eat every part of the pig ‘cept the squeal” and that was pretty much true. Growing up in Chicago you were never more than a few blocks from some kind of ethnic sausage, and it was all good, and likely represented quite a diverse cross-section of pig parts. Today I cook pork loin on the grill, loaded with garlic and herbs. I do a great job making carnitas from pork shoulder, chunks of meat boiled down in spicy broth and then seared and
stuffed into tacos. I also like to slow-cook a pork shoulder in the crock pot and make pulled pork sandwiches for a week. okPORK: Okay, your turn. What else would you like to tell us before you get here? Folta: I’m just a regular guy that loves what I do and likes to think of ways that technology can help us live better lives. I’m so glad to be part of agriculture and helping advance how to make more food with fewer inputs—and better food with sustainability. I’m always glad to speak to producer groups. They are trusted and knowledgeable, but also the least likely to engage the public. I want them to be more comfortable interacting with the public, and then do it more often. They hold the power to helping others understand food and where it comes from. Our producers need to be learning the tricks of engaging the public effectively. In the days of discussions of antibiotics, hormones, and animal welfare, the producers need to step into the conversation, not away from it. Right now it seems like others are dictating the conversation—and they know nothing about what you do. Sustained freedom to operate on your terms means becoming part of the conversation. 13
Friends of okPORK
eep all hands and arms inside the vehicle folks, the morning seminar at Pork Congress is going to be an intense one. The plan is for a representative to speak from each of the five organizations to which okPORK most often donates money. Each group represented will be given a few minutes to introduce themselves, who they work with and the programs with which okPORK is involved. How does okPORK affect the state? How do we continue to support and provide for our world to be a better place? That’s what this seminar is all about. Meet the people okPORK partners with and find out where the dollars on the ground go. Below is a quick introduction to the five groups: Oklahoma Youth Expo Five year approximate total donated: $105,000 The Oklahoma Youth Expo celebrated 100 years in 2015. Since 1915, families have made the livestock exhibition in Oklahoma City part of their spring. It has been through many incarnations – with different people managing, different names and different sponsors – but has always brought the best quality animals to promote good breeding and healthy competition. It is recognized today as the largest youth event in the state of Oklahoma and one of the largest youth livestock expos in the country. With more than 7,000 exhibitors representing all of the 77 Oklahoma counties as you stroll through the barns. Regional Food Bank Five year approximate total donated: $60,000 The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a member of the Feeding America network of Food Banks and is the largest private domestic hunger relief charity in Oklahoma. Every week the food bank provides food to 116,000 hungry Oklahomans – 37 percent of which are children. According to their website, their administrative costs remain so low – near four percent – that approximately 96 cents of each 14
dollar go toward food for the hungry. In the fiscal 2014 year, 49.9 million pounds of food were distributed through more than 1200 charitable organizations and schools in 53 counties. Ag in the Classroom Five year approximate total donated: $50,000 Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program intended to help young school children get to know more about what farmers in Oklahoma are doing to provide food and fiber to the growing world population. The program is a product of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Department of Education and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. The funding for the program comes from all kinds of farmer-led organizations such as okPORK. Oklahoma 4-H Foundation Five year approximate total donated: $45,000 4-H is the youth development program run by the Cooperative Extension Service run within the land grant universities in the United States. It provides youth development programs in every state, and every county of the country and uses more than 600,000 volunteers to get the job done. With more than six million participants, 4-H is the single largest youth development program in the country and helps to teach kids in ways no other organization can. Oklahoma Blood Institute: Five year approximate total donated; $36,000 The Oklahoma Blood Institute provides the life-saving blood related needs of approximately 150 hospitals in their service area. More than 12 tests must be run on each donation before it can be properly packaged and stored for use. It takes more than 600 donors each day to provide the blood needed and there is generally no more than a three day supply on hand in case of emergency.
uring the past 12 years I estimate we (McSpadden & Associates and okPORK) have actively weighed in on approximately 75 individual pieces of legislation on behalf of the Oklahoma Pork Council. That is an average of between six and seven bills per legislative session. I don’t know if it sounds like it, but that is a lot of legislation. We try to talk to as many legislators as possible to discuss each bill, but talking to 149 individual legislators six or seven times per session would mean 931 unique conversations. Throw in several more discussions with individuals among the executive branch and other bureaucrats and the number of conversations easily pushes 1000. In the limited time we have each year to speak with legislators, this just isn’t possible. Part of my job is knowing which legislators to talk to in order to do the most good. Certain legislators aren’t going to
im Peterson spent his whole life in Texas County. In fact, three sets of his great grandparents settled there. It’s no wonder he has always been an advocate for the pork industry in the panhandle. From the beginning of his association with the industry as “the caterer to know” in the area to his time as current mayor of Guymon, Okla., his stance as a supporter of pork has never wavered. He says he got to know the folks with Seaboard in the early stages pork industry influx, and as the proprietor of Kim’s Ribs was asked to cater a very specific meal for 12 people once. As it turns out, those 12 people included the then owner of Seaboard and several of the top level management position holders. He says he continues to have a good relationship with them today. “Seaboard and the pork industry have become a major economic driver in the area and have leveled out the highs and lows of grain prices, farm prices and oil prices,” Peterson said.
vote for us under any circumstances, while others will be actively engaged in trying to convince other legislators to support our issues. Certain legislators will bring in a handful of votes simply because others trust them. These are the legislators it makes sense to spend time with and Ben Sherrer is one of these legislators. We always talk to Ben, because we know that if we get his vote, there is a good chance several others will follow. In 12 years, more than 75 votes, Ben Sherrer has never once voted against us. It has never mattered if we were asking him to support a measure we requested, or asking him to vote against a bill that would hurt our industry – Ben Sherrer has been on okPORK’s side 100 percent of the time – spanning more than a decade. If it were possible to have 149 Ben Sherrers in the legislature, we’d be in pretty good shape. by James McSpadden
“The people who work for Seaboard make Guymon and the surrounding communities their homes. They are involved in churches, schools and local governments. It helps keep these small towns alive.” Through the tough times and the good times Peterson has been there when needed. He was part of the crew who would show up in the Capitol rotunda and feed ribs to all who showed up at the Pork Rally during the moratorium on expansion. Even now, each summer when the Youth Leadership class arrives in Guymon he welcomes them to Hunny’s with a warm meal, open doors and a place to pull up a chair and learn more about what it means to be part of the pork industry in the panhandle. For all of these many reasons and more okPORK will be honored to bestow the 2016 Ambassador award on Kim Peterson at the 2016 Oklahoma Pork Congress on Friday, February 26. by Kristin Alsup 15
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT Be sure to vote Yes on State Question 777 and protect your Right to Farm. Connect with Oklahoma Farmers Care to learn more. www.oklahomarighttofarm.com www.twitter.com/YesOn777 www.facebook.com/Yes-On-777
Everything You Need To Know About
SQ 777: THE RIGHT TO FARM AMENDMENT Oklahoma’s Right to Farm constitutional amendment will be on the ballot in 2016. To secure these constitutional rights for farmers and ranchers, Oklahoma agriculture needs to make our case to the voters. The Right to Farm protects family farmers and ranchers and ensures that we can pass our farms to the next generation. We are asking Oklahoma voters to support the family farmers that are leading the charge on the Yes on State Question 777 campaign. Fellow farming and ranching states like North Dakota and Missouri have already passed Right to Farm constitutional amendments in 2012 and 2014, respectively, and Oklahoma has the opportunity to be a national leader in this movement. WHAT IS RIGHT TO FARM? State Question 777, also known as the Right to Farm Amendment, is an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment to protect Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers from unreasonable government interference and attacks by out of state special interests. It is important to note that Right to Farm was vetted and debated by the Oklahoma legislature. Unlike the ballot initiatives that HSUS prefers, real Oklahomans had input on this initiative. Right to Farm passed the State House 85 ‘Yes’ to 7 ‘No’ and passed the State Senate 39 ‘Yes’ to 6 ‘No.’ WHAT WILL STATE QUESTION 777 ACTUALLY DO? If voters approve State Question 777, farmers and ranchers will have additional constitutional protections that they currently lack, and desperately need. Right to Farm will be another “tool in the toolbox” for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers to defend themselves.
the state government from restricting—or even eliminating— your right to farm, ranch, or grow food for your family. WILL RIGHT TO FARM OVERTURN ALL AGRICULTURE REGULATIONS? No. State Question 777 will not impact any law or regulation that was enacted on or prior to December 31st, 2014. Moving forward, the Right To Farm will still allow reasonable regulations on agriculture that are needed to ensure the health and safety of Oklahoma’s citizens. WHO BENEFITS FROM RIGHT TO FARM? All Oklahomans including farmers, ranchers and families. State Question 777 protects all shapes and sizes of farmers and ranchers, including small farmers, hobby farmers, family farmers, organic farmers, as well as conventional farmers. The Right To Farm amendment will protect all farmers equally and ensure that Oklahoma families have access to great-tasting, healthy and affordable nutrition.
WHO SUPPORTS RIGHT TO FARM? State Question 777, the Right To Farm amendment, is the result of work by farmer-led organizations all across Oklahoma, because agriculture is the lifeblood of Oklahoma’s economy and a deeply held part of Oklahoma’s heritage.
WILL STATE QUESTION 777 GRANT NEW RIGHTS TO OUT OF STATE CORPORATIONS? No, State Question 777 was written to protect only the individual rights of Oklahoma’s citizens. Current state law limits the corporate ownership of farms and State Question 777 will not change that.
WHY IS RIGHT TO FARM NEEDED NOW? State legislatures and activist groups around the nation are pushing mountains of needless, misguided regulations that put bureaucrats and politicians in control of agriculture, instead of farmers and ranchers. This red-tape is making it nearly impossible for America’s family farms to grow quality food, take proper care of their animals, or even stay in business. We must act now to protect Oklahoma’s family farmers from the same fate.
BALLOT TITLE FOR SQ777 This measure adds Section 38 to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution. This new section creates state constitutional rights. It creates the following guaranteed rights to engage in farming and ranching: • The right to make use of agricultural technology, • The right to make use of livestock procedures, and • The right to make use of ranching practices.
DON’T WE ALREADY HAVE THE RIGHT TO FARM? No. There are no existing constitutional protections that prevent 21
WE’VE COME A LO Celebrating 20 years! okPORK PAGES
The Oklahoma Pork Council started their publication as a two page news bulletin that was all black and white and printed and mailed from the office. We weren’t able to find the older mailing lists, but from it’s very earliest days the magazine was sent to all OPC members, allied organizations, friends of the industry, all 4-H and FFA educators and all State Representatives and Senators. Today the okPORK PAGES is a (mostly) digital publication that has the potential to reach millions. We continue to print the spring issue each year and mail it to more than 1,000 people (many who were listed above) and always bring extra copies to hand out at the Oklahoma Pork Congress. You can find all the digital issues at www.issuu.com/okpork. As it enters it’s 20th year of publication, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the okPORK PAGES covers and a few tidbits of interesting information about the magazine. If you’d like to take a deeper walk down memory lane, go to okpork.org/porkpages/pork-pages/archive. You might see your smiling face at a Pork Congress or Golf Tournament from years gone by.
1996 1998 2001 2006 2009 2014 2016
2 pages black & white, printed in the OPC office 16 pages, black and white, printed every 2 months Added one spot color and full color center spread All 16 pages printed in full color Quarterly publication schedule, 24 or 28 pages each issue.
Began Digital Publication 20th Year of Publication
ONG WAY, BABY! Oklahomaâ€™s Pork Industry
breeding stock breeding stock
market hogs market hogs
1,000,000 2,120,000 total hogs & pigs total hogs & pigs
Making a Very Merry Christmas D
onations of pork are simply part of what okPORK does each year, right? Donations go to school groups raising money for student programs or promoting pork while the students discover how impactful pig farming is on the food chain. Other donations go to support the men and women who serve in the armed forces and give of themselves to protect our freedom. Each donation makes an impact. In December, okPORK donated half loins to the Eastern Oklahoma Country Resource Center. This donation was to help facilitate their Christmas Reception. The event is like nothing okPORK has been a part of in the past and we were ecstatic to be involved this year. The 2015 “Christmas Reception” is the second event of its kind held by the EOCRC and is a resource to help the families in eastern Oklahoma county who are in the greatest need during the holiday season. The families are treated to a riotously fun day and after being checked-in and verified as an invited family, they are introduced to a guide who helps navigate the different sections of the event. The section nearest the door included a reception area with coffee and snacks while a live band played Christmas themed music. There was a long line which ended near the right side of the stage where the band was, and upon further inspection – one would find this line to lead to a photography session. Lifetouch Photography did family photos for each of the families at the event for no cost. Another section of the event was a fun-filled party for children involving inflatables and music, games and snacks. The kids party filled several rooms and it was a whole mess of controlled chaos. There is no guarantee the children knew each other before they walked into these rooms. However, it didn’t
take long for the fun to take over and the volume to creep to ear-splitting levels. Shrieks of happiness and shouts of joy could be heard all through the hallways. While the children played, parents were invited to a different section to shop for gifts for the children. Not only could you find age-appropriate books and reading material, board games and toys for any kid, but also socks and underwear. Every parent would be able to provide a Christmas morning for any children in their care. The last stop before leaving is where okPORK gets involved. In the food area each family was given a box of food for their family to make Christmas dinner. In addition, an entire week’s worth of groceries was also available to each family. The half pork loins were part of this donation. Families who struggle with food insecurity often find school holidays among the hardest times since children are home all day for meals. The idea was to help these families make Christmas be the best it could possibly be. “This was a rare opportunity to get involved in something special,” okPORK Outreach Specialist Lloyd Hawkins said. “I have never seen a group who has been that organized, never have they had an event which covered such a broad spectrum of needs and never have I seen one that well thought out. The group went to the counselors at the schools in the area to make sure each of the families were among the truly neediest in the area so that the help would go to those who needed it most.” Keeping families from being hungry, providing smiles and making more Merry for Christmas is why okPORK donates pork. Hopefully the EOCRC will be able to make the “Christmas Reception” an annual event and okPORK can share the Merry Christmas spirit through pork once again. by Kristin Alsup
story and photos by Kristin Alsup
hat was the last thing you had to eat? How long ago did you finish it? Is your stomach rumbling? Do you know what you are making for dinner tonight? Are you sure you WILL have dinner tonight? For one in four children in Oklahoma, the answer to the final question is no. If you have heard this statistic before it is likely as a result of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and their dedication to feeding hungry Oklahomans. It is because of these numbers that each fall Oklahomans come together and donate to the Governor’s annual food drive. It is because of these numbers and this hunger the pig farmers in Oklahoma are dedicated to being a part of the solution. This year, okPORK partnered with both Bar-S Foods and Homeland Stores to create a never-before attempted partnership. It was unlike anything okPORK has really tried before. In the end – a semi-truck load of hot dogs went to the two food banks serving Oklahoma’s hungry families. Less hunger pangs were felt this season. Drawing people in To draw interest in the food donation a promotion took place at each of the Homelands. In one of the weekly advertisement sheets Homeland invited customers to purchase Bar-S Foods products. With each purchase a portion of the proceeds would be allocated to the donation of the hot dogs. To support the promotion, okPORK wrangled together a Facebook photo contest. With buy-in from each of the partners okPORK offered a gift basket full of $100 worth of Bar-S Foods pork products including all sorts of bacon, hot links and bologna. The plan was a simple one, all one had to do to enter was drop a picture of themselves buying, cooking or eating a Bar-S product onto the okPORK Facebook page. The contest ran during the same week as the promotion, and while it didn’t receive the high buy-in from the partners as okPORK had hoped, it was still successful in drawing people to the Facebook page and getting some interaction from the audience there.
Chosen at random, the winning Facebook fan dropped an adorable photo of her daughter trying to finish eating her hot dog while being overcome by an irresistible nap. A life-long okPORK supporter was made the day she received the phone call about her basket of Bar-S swag. Dropping the dogs While the promotion and the contest were exciting, the important day finally arrived on Friday, November 20. Have you ever seen an entire truck load of hot dogs? It’s relly quite an impressive sight. The pallets were stacked high and the Bar-S Foods logo could be seen everywhere. Representatives from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Bar-S Foods, Homeland Stores as well as okPORK gathered in front of boxes of hotdogs while grins showed on each face. Banners were hung in honor of the donation, showing how much food fit on the truck. Did you know more than 300,000 hot dogs fit on a semitruck? A total 38,016 pounds of hot dogs were donated to fight hunger across the state. No one can deny the impact of that many meals to people who are hungry and aren’t sure from where their next meal will come. Farmers feed the world You may hear it all the time. Farmers do their job to feed the world and with the growing global population the job gets harder all the time. It is a true and noble goal. However, with projects like the donation to the Governor’s annual food drive, don’t forget that farmers are working every day to feed you, your neighbors and the little girl around the corner who sometimes goes to bed hungry. With partnerships and projects like this one from okPORK more than 38,000 pounds of protein found its way to the mouths of hungry people this winter. Hopefully less than one in four children went to bed hungry because of this donation. 25
Oklahoma Pork Open Golf Ad GO L F T O U R N A M E N T
We are building a new golf tournament. New and exciting things are being planned. Want to get involved? 2 new sponsorships - $500 each â€“ Prize Sponsor â€“ Hawgarita Sponsor Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact Lloyd Hawkins at email@example.com
November 18 | 6 p.m. | Vast | Tickets $125
910 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104-3206 405-232-3781office 888-729-7675 toll free 405-232-3862 fax www.okpork.org
Check membership type: Producer Producer ($75)
COMPLETE AND RETURN THIS FORM TO OPC WITH YOUR MEMBERSHIP PAYMENT. PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY! Membership Description Producer: Individuals, partnerships, corporations or firms that are actively engaged in the production of swine in Oklahoma. Friend: Extension educators, agriculture education instructors, local businessmen, others supporting OPC and Oklahoma’s pork industry. Associate: Feed companies, veterinary suppliers, pork product manufacturers, etc.
Name: Address: City, State & Zip: Phone:
E-mail: Spouse Name: Company/Farm Name:
District: East West At Large (out of state) ___________________________________________________________________________________ Describe your operation: Independent Corporate Contract Show pig or purebred
Type of production: Farrow only # of sows __________________ Farrow to feeder # of sows __________________ Farrow to finish # of sows __________________ Nursery only # of pigs ___________________ Finisher # of hogs __________________ Other (please describe)________________________
Payment Method Cash
Check (Payable to OPC)
Credit Card: Visa
# ________________________ Expiration Date _____________ Signature ________________________ Address and Zip Code where credit card bill is mailed ___________________________________________
PAC Contributions The okPORK Political Action Committee (PAC) allows us to help with the election of friends of agriculture for state political office. The OPC will use your contribution to manage issues of benefit to the Oklahoma pork industry.
Please check all that apply & sign below! Please commit ALL of my membership dues to okPORK’s Political Action Committee. (If you do not check here, your dues will stay in the OPC Membership fund.) I would also like to contribute $ ________ to okPORK’s Political Action Committee. The contribution was freely and voluntarily given by me from my personal property. I have not directly or indirectly been compensated or reimbursed for the contribution.
SIGNATURE OF CONTRIBUTOR
FOR OFFICE USE ONLY Date received __________
Update: Membership ________
Check # ________
Pork Pages ________
Amount received $________
E-Pork Partner ________
901 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380 Oklahoma City, OK 73104-3206
Prep: 20 min | Cook: 10 min | Serves 4-6 Ingredients 6 thin boneless new york (top loin) pork chops 1/2 cup flour 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup panko bread crumbs Salt and pepper, to taste 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 5 ounces fresh spinach 2 tablespoons roasted red tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped Zest of 1/2 lemon
Put flour, eggs and bread crumbs in three separate shallow bowls. Season pork with salt and pepper, then coat each pork chop with flour. Dip in egg, then coat in bread crumbs on both sides. Over medium-high heat, add 3/4 cup olive oil to a frying pan or skillet until oil faintly smokes. Add pork to skillet, using tongs to turn over when edges turn golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Cook until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees F. to 160 degrees F. Remove pork chops from pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat; add spinach and tomatoes to pan. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes, until spinach is just wilted and spinach and tomatoes are heated through. Transfer pork chops to clean platter; top each with spinach and tomato mixture.