okPORK PAGES official magazine of the Oklahoma Pork Council | www.okpork.org
Volume 20 | Issue 3 | Fall 2016
Immersed in the Pork Industry Class 5 | Youth Leadership Camp
Contents Fall 2016
okPORK PAGES Fall 2016 | Volume 20 | Issue 3
3 | President Speaks 4 | Executive Review
BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS President | Cathy Vaughan, Rosston President Elect | Phil Olipahnt, El Reno Vice President | Joe Popplewell, Stillwater Treasurer | Sara Linneen, Holdenville
5 | SQ777 Ballot Language 6 | Swine and Stein
BOARD MEMBERS Keith Reiner, Enid Paris Robinson, Holdenville Tina Falcon, Tecumseh Robbie Woods, Enid
7 | Unwaivering Support Saves Lives 8 | Hard Work = Big Rewards 10 | Women in the Pork Industry 12 | Immersed in the Pork Industry 18 | The Turf is Greener 20 | A Summer Full of Memories 21| A Fun Day to Honor BBJ 22 | The Town That Goes Hawg Wild 24 | Shooting to Support Right to Farm 25| Fall Favorite Recipes
EX OFFICIO Dr. Scott Carter, Stillwater Wathina Luthi, Gage Brett Ramsey, Jones Rob Richard, Stillwater STAFF Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. | email@example.com Office Manager Donna Jackson | 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 Writers | Lindsay Tasos, Nikki Snider Designer | Nikki Snider Editor | Donna Jackson
On the Cover Members of Class 5 of Youth Leadership Camp pose with the pork they processed as the capstone to their week of learning about the pork industry.
Photo by Kristin Alsup 2 | okPORK PAGES
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Share your story!
by Cathy Vaughan
How do you share your story? Do your friends and family know what you do every day? How about those in your schools, communities or, even better, people that you don’t know? With the recent discussions around Right to Farm, I notice that not very many people know what we as pig farmers do every day. I thought about this the other day when several of our farms were loading wean trucks at 3:30 a.m. so that we could get pigs on the road at a cooler time of the day and to their destination before temperatures were going to reach over 100 degrees with heat indexes reaching 115 degrees. Do people know that when forecasts call for high amounts of snow most farms ask people to stay at the farms overnight? This ensures generators will run if the power goes out and that the animals are warm and fed even when everyone else may be stranded at home. Social media has recently shown me that people just don’t know what we do. Every day you can look at comments made from complete strangers, who usually are not at all involved in agriculture, on why one should vote no on SQ777. Most of their arguments are things that they have heard somewhere or even made up. If you challenge those comments and ask them where they heard it or where they got their information, they remain quiet. The perks of social media I guess – you can engage when you want and then ignore when challenged. Some examples that I find personally frustrating are when strangers comment or the opposition advertises that passing the Right to Farm Amendment will only give agriculture the freedom
to pollute our waters. When I see this type of advertising or comments being made I honestly feel hurt. How did farmers and ranchers become the evil villain? Do people really think that we dump gallons of pollutants into the lakes and streams and laugh our evil laugh? Most families live on the farms that they operate on - therefore they are drinking from the same ground water or the local water basins too. It just doesn’t even make sense! If it’s been said once it’s been said hundreds of times – we have to tell people what we do. I know personally telling people what we do can feel scary – there’s the fear of someone turning around your story and then using it against you. Maybe that’s just my fear. But I have recently realized that the more I tell people the truth about what we do, maybe someday it will be what people repeat instead of the made up stuff. As farmers we have to stand up for ourselves and fight for our right to do what we love. It doesn’t matter if you are a large producer or a small producer. We are all working toward the same goal – and that’s providing safe and nutritious protein to the world. If you aren’t already, think about engaging in social media. If that doesn’t appeal to you, think about writing a letter to the editor. If none of those work for you just talk to people. Let them know what you do every day. We are not bad people. We are farmers and we deserve respect for what we do because if we don’t feed America, who will?
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Race to the Finish in Support of SQ777
by Roy Lee Lindsey
The November election is about two months away and the stakes have never been higher. No, I’m not talking about Hillary vs. Trump. I’m talking about SQ777 – Right to Farm. Oklahomans will have an unprecedented opportunity to protect agriculture – those who feed and clothe us every day – from the animal rights and environmental activists who wish to put animal agriculture out of business. These aren’t people who believe there is an end result that includes meat production. Their end game is NO meat production. In addition to protecting farmers and ranchers, Oklahomans can also help guarantee their choices when they visit the grocery store. Today we enjoy the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply in the world. A YES vote on SQ777 will preserve those choices. SQ777 is a simple measure. Despite claims from opponents of the measure to the contrary, the ballot language is simple and straightforward. You can read the actual ballot language on the next page. Or you can download a copy of the ballot language at http://oklahomarighttofarm.com/OKRTF_BallotTitle.pdf. Our opponents have tried to make this about everything it is not. They can’t explain away the fact that people are working actively to put livestock producers out of business or to limit the choices consumers have at the grocery store so they are reaching for anything they can find to try to confuse the voter. They have misrepresented our efforts by claiming we’ll bring back cock fighting or puppy mills or that it will allow us to grow marijuana. All those claims are hogwash. Current state laws already prohibit those actions and nothing in SQ777 repeals existing law. The concern our opponents have raised the most is about protecting our environment and, specifically water quality and quantity. It is the most often asked question I get when I’m out speaking about SQ777. My response is very simple. SQ777 has nothing to do with water quality or quantity. The word “water” is never mentioned in the ballot question. Water quality and quantity are not impacted by your YES vote. Farmers and ranchers across the state must have clean water for our farms to prosper. We don’t want clean water; we MUST HAVE clean water. Despite claims from our opponents, there is NO incentive to pollute water. The incentives are all to conserve and protect clean water. Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers recognized the importance of protecting water quality so we included language that provides for the legislature to still pass laws that are a “compelling state interest.” In simple terms, I think of compelling state interest as those things that
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are truly a matter of public health, welfare, and safety. I think all Oklahomans would agree that protecting water quality is clearly a compelling state interest. When Oklahoma agricultural organizations asked the state legislature to put Right to Farm on the ballot, the legislature agreed with our assessment that they would still have the ability to protect the things most important to Oklahomans, otherwise they would not have passed the resolution. HJR1012 which created SQ777, passed the two chambers of the legislature by a 124-13 vote. We had yes votes from democrats and republicans, urban and rural legislators, men and women. Almost any demographic you want to identify voted to put this on the ballot. Now we need your help to get us over the finish line. We need you to talk to your neighbors about why they should vote YES. We need you to talk to your friends after church on Sunday. We need you to put up yard signs and window stickers on your car and to knock on doors as we campaign and to write letters to the editor in your home towns. And yes, we need your financial support. We fully expect the Humane Society of the United States to dump a significant amount of money into this campaign near the end. We must have cash on hand to respond to the absurd allegations that will be made by our opponents. There are a number of ways you can contribute, but the easiest is through our on-line donation link at http://www. oklahomarighttofarm.com/donate/. If you don’t want to donate online, make a check payable to Oklahoma Farmers Care and you can mail it to our office at 901 N Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. But the most important thing you can do is to get out on Tuesday, November 8, and vote YES ON SQ777. •
OklahomaRightToFarm.com BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 777 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. These constitutional rights receive extra protection under this measure that not all constitutional rights receive. This extra protection is a limit on lawmakersâ€™ ability to interfere with the exercise of these rights. Under this extra protection, no law can interfere with these rights, unless the law is justified by a compelling state interest - a clearly identified state interest of the highest order. Additionally, the law must be necessary to serve that compelling state interest. The measure - and the protections identified above - do not apply to and do not impact state laws related to: - Trespass, - Eminent domain, - Dominance of mineral interests, - Easements, - Right of way or other property rights, and - Any state statutes and political subdivision ordinances enacted before December 31, 2014.
SHALL THE PROPOSAL BE APPROVED? FOR THE PROPOSAL - YES AGAINST THE PROPOSAL - NO
ELECTION DATE: NOVEMBER 8, 2016
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he second in the Swine and Stein series and part of okPORK’s growing list of annual pairing dinners was another smashing success. On August 14th an intimate group of 36 gathered at Land & Sea in Oklahoma City. Chef Michael Bowles amazed the crowd once again with five amazing courses, each featuring pork in some fashion. Anthem Brewing Company provided amazing brews to help all that pork goodness go down smoothly. “It takes a variety of methods for okPORK to raise enough money to support our non-Checkoff endeavors. These pairing dinners have been a very effective fund-raising tool,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr., okPORK Executive Director. “And in a year when we’re investing heavily in the efforts to support Yes on State Question 777, these events have become more important.” Raising funds and enjoying scrumptious pork (have you checked out that menu?!?!) go hand-in-hand. Next year the reach of Swine and Stein will be even larger.
“Land and Sea has been great venue for us, but we are looking at moving this event to a larger venue because we’ve already reached our capacity twice,” said Lloyd Hawkins, okPORK community outreach coordinator. “It’s been great to sell this event out twice and I hope everyone will take advantage of the increased reach this event will have in the future.” James McSpadden, part of okPORK’s legislative team, was also excited about growing the Swine and Stein event. “Events like Swine and Stein work so well to build goodwill in the community. Everyone enjoys the amazing food and chance to talk to people involved in the pork industry,” said James McSpadden, with McSpadden and Associates. “And the non-checkoff funds raised are also very important.” You heard it here first folks – more first-class pork and amazing beer parings are coming your way in 2017. Do NOT miss it! •
On The Menu:
Chilled Melon Soup with Prosciutto and Chipotle Cream. Paired with Lost Ogle Oktoberfest. Citrus Infused Pork Belly Salad with Arugula, Frisee, Red Leaf Lettuces, Carrots, Cucumbers, Sundried Tomatoes, Roasted Pepita, Tobacco Fried Onions and Ginger Vinaigrette. Paired with Golden One Tamale Cakes Topped with Braised Pork Shoulder, Red Chile Sauce, Roasted Jalapeño Crema, and Cotja Cheese and South by Southwestern Succotash and Sweet Potato Frizzles. Paired with Uroboros Stout Granny Apple Pork Belly Shortcake with a Pink Peppercorn Whipped Cream. Paired with OK Pils. Pretzel Loaf with an Herb Whole Grain Mustard Bacon Butter.
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Unwavering Support Saves Oklahoma Lives
Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.
- Abraham Lincoln
ommitted to Oklahoma has been part of okPORK’s mission statement since the late 1990s. Pork producers and okPORK staff and the board live this out in many ways. One of those ways is holding state-wide events that bring people together. And every year on the week before Memorial Day, you can be sure that okPORK will support the Oklahoma Blood Institutes’ efforts to ramp up the blood supply before the hectic holiday weekend and busy summer. “It’s truly a fun event and it’s always amazing to hear the numbers each year on how this event helps OBI and they enter the summer when people are very busy and don’t take the time to donate blood,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, okPORK executive director. okPORK’s support for the Memorial Day Blood drive includes providing hundreds of pounds of pulled pork to blood donation centers all across the state. This allows donors all across the state to receive a pulled-pork sandwich in appreciation for taking time to donate blood. okPORK is also involved in radio remotes during the event to let Oklahomans know about the event and need for blood donations. “The Oklahoma Pork Council’s support before the holiday weekend helped OBI exceed its donor goal at the start of the challenging summer months,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI president and CEO. “The 2016 pre-Memorial Day Blood Drive drew 1,135 participants. This means your efforts will result in 2,841 lives being saved!” You may think that after 10+ blood drives, okPORK would be ready to move on to another event. But that’s just not the case. The staff and board are already working on next year’s event and how it can make an even bigger impact for OBI and help them save even more lives. •
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Youth For Pork Participants: Top, (L to R) Tyler Wilkinson, Tate Ott, Jentry Squires, Kylee Campbell. Bottom (L to R) Trey Poteat, Kale Campbell, Darcy Hilburn.
Hard Work = Big Rewards Speech is power; speech is to PERSUADE, to CONVERT, to COMPEL. - Ralph Waldo Emmerson
uring the lazy days of summer, most young people can be found at the pool, hanging out with friends, traveling, and just plain enjoying not having to be in school. But that wasn’t the case for 11 Oklahoma 4-H and FFA students. They took the time to research a swine-industry topic, write a speech about it, memorize the whole speech, and practice their delivery. Then on a hot day in mid-July, they presented that speech at the Youth for Pork speech contest. And many of these students had spent the morning practicing their swine judging skills at OSU’s Swine Field Day. All that hard work paid of in big rewards – self-confidence, learning something new about pork production, and cash prizes. The judges certainly were impressed at how hard these 4-H and FFA students worked over the summer. “I absolutely saw higher quality speeches this year. They were very polished and it was really hard to pick a winner this time. I enjoy going to hear the kids and I’m always amazed at their talent,” said Tina Falcon, pork producer from Tecumseh,
Kale Campbell | 1st Jr 4-H
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Kylee Campbell| 1st Sr. 4-H
Okla., and okPORK Board member. So who were these over-achieving students and how did the contest play out? In the Senior FFA Division Tyler Wilkinson placed 1st and Darcy Hilburn placed 2nd. In the Junior FFA Division, Jentry Squires placed 1st and Tate Ott placed 2nd. Kylee Campbell placed 1st in the Senior 4-H division and also won the final round to be the Overall winner. In the Junior 4-H Division Kale Campbell placed 1st and Trey Poteat placed 2nd. “The four winners were the best set of four we’ve had since I’ve been a judge. They were all really well done,” said Scott Carter, OSU Animal Science Professor So heads up 4-H and FFA students: it’s not too late to begin preparing for next year. Youth for Pork will always be held on the Thursday of OSU’s Big 3 Judging Field Days at Noon in the Animal Science Building. Your speech can be on any topic related to the swine industry. There’s no need to pre-register. So, start your research now, enjoy next summer and we’ll see you in July 2017! •
Jentry Squires| 1st Jr. FFA
Tyler Wilkinson | 1st Sr. FFA
ITâ€™S TIME TO VOTE! Protect your right to farm Tuesday, November 8th Tell your friends | Go to the Polls Find out more www.oklahomarighttofarm.com
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Celebrating 20 Years
in the pork industry by Lindsay Tasos
f you were to ask someone what women in the swine industry did 20 years ago they would probably say something along the lines of being a stay-at-home mom or working in the closest town possible to bring in extra money for the farm and family. In reality women did quite the opposite and farmed just as much as men did. “I think the pork industry chose me,” said Cathy Vaughan, safety and communications coordinator at Smithfield. “I graduated from New Mexico State with an education degree and my husband was recruited by the company and a position opened up in the office for a production assistant so I went for it and I got it.” Vaughan said she tried to find a job that was related to her degree but then realized finding a specific position was not as easy as it seemed. That’s what led her to the swine industry 11 years ago. At Smithfield, Vaughn handles employee safety training and worker compensation. In contrast, Tina Falcon, owner/operator of Falcon Family Farms, came to Oklahoma in 2002 to actually start a family business with her husband Ben. “We actually relocated to Oklahoma specifically for the pork industry,” Falcon said. “We moved from California because we knew that a business in the swine field would be more successful if we came to the Midwest to become contract growers for Tyson Foods.” Falcon said her position was and still is different from fellow board member Vaughan’s because their farm is located on their own property in Tecumseh and they run the farm together as a family. “Everyone’s job position in the pork industry is different,” Falcon said. “I take care of my family and run the back side of our farm which also includes all of the finances.”
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Dottie King, owner/operator of a 1,250 head and 3,095 farrowing facilities also has an interesting story about how the swine industry entered her life. “The main reason was to bring my husband home from offshore oil production,” King said. “The other reason was to raise my children on a family farm to teach them the value of raising animals in a controlled environment all while producing food for the world.” Brian Baker, swine producer for Tyson, spoke about his wife, Betty, in her memorial video and said the swine industry has been a part of their lives since the early 1990s. “It all started with an article in a magazine that Betty’s mom had showed us,” Brian Baker said. “It said Tyson was coming to Holdenville and building a feed mill and Betty’s mom looked at us and said this might be something you want to go into.” Brian Baker said Betty always wanted to run her own business and when Tyson came along and with the amount of land and water they owned it only made sense. However, women in the swine industry don’t just work on farms. Some women like Donna Jackson, office manager at okPORK, help keep things in order for the board and council. “I consider Donna the front door for okPORK,” Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director at okPORK, said. “Anyone who has contacted us or attended our meetings for the last 18 years has seen or has gotten to know Ms. Donna.” Jackson worked with Lindsey before he came to the Oklahoma Pork Council at the Cleveland County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and when Lindsey came to work for okPORK he invited Jackson to come with him. “She’s very valuable to the pork industry as a whole,” Lindsey said. “She’s responsible for records, managing elections and has relationship with Extension that no one else has.” These ladies have either served or are serving as board
members or have had some connection with the Oklahoma Pork Council. Betty Baker was the first female elected to the Oklahoma Pork Council Board of Directors. “Betty was elected to be on the Board of Directors back in 1999,” Lindsey said. “She was the first woman that served on the board and the first woman to serve as an officer.” Betty Baker was known for her positive yet nurturing attitude on the board and when there was an issue many people looked to her for guidance and leadership. “Betty had a very calming influence on the board,” Lindsey said. “We were just coming through the big battles at the state capitol and big changes within the pork industry.” Vaughan, Falcon and King also served on the board where their duties included attending planning meetings, okPORK events, creating the annual budget and much more. “I started to attend strategic planning meetings about five
When swine producers, like King and Falcon hear the word future one word comes to mind and that word is scary but they both stay positive about the upcoming years. “There are too many groups that don’t even eat pork, yet they are trying to dictate how we raise pork,” King said. “This is an issue that we have been and will continue to be faced with.” On the other hand, Falcon thinks there will be many positive aspects that will affect the swine industry. “My job depends on agriculture and the pork industry,” Falcon said. “Our main job is to feed the world and I see a lot of younger demographics coming into the industry to give us a fresh new perspective.” Lindsey thinks that women have been major contributors to the swine industry and will continue to have a positive influence for the future. “The role of women in the pork industry has been
years ago,” Vaughan said. “Smithfield received an invitation to attend the meeting and they wanted to send a representative to reconnect with okPORK and the industry.” Women have had a huge effect on the way the swine industry practices in the last 20 years especially on the Oklahoma Pork Board, Falcon said. “When I started on the board there was only one other woman and now there are four of us,” Falcon said. “I think its important to show that its not just a man’s world and women can play just as big of a role as they do.” And it’s clear women will continue to play a role on the okPORK board. Paris Robinson and Sarah Linneen are the new members elected to the board this February. Betty Baker left her mark on okPORK not only as a successful producer, but a role model to women who wanted to be apart of this industry. “You could hear it in her voice that she was proud to be an Oklahoma pork producer,” Lindsey said. “We were able to make great headway to the image of the industry thanks to Betty.” King also thinks that women have a special purpose in the swine industry because they’ve been around it just as long as men have. “I believe women have always been involved,” Kind said. “It just was never acknowledged and now most swine farms are primarily women taking care of the pigs.” In comparison to men, women actually outnumber them on most swine operations because of their nurturing nature. But, women in the pork industry don’t just care for the pigs. They do much more. Unlike Falcon and King, Vaughan said that she doesn’t raise or feed any of the pigs at Smithfield. She said that her job was to help the employees.
astronomical,” he said. “Some of the largest swine production facilities in the world are managed by women.” Lindsey was quick to point out there are countless other women who have contributed greatly to Oklahoma’s pork industry and okPORK. From Kay Stinson’s time with Murphy Brown and now Seaboard Foods to Wathina Luthi being elected to serve on the National Pork Board to Karen Brewer representing okPORK on national swine commodity committees for other ag organizations, the impact women have had in Oklahoma and at okPORK is tremendous. Baker, Jackson, Falcon, Vaughan and King have made a huge impact on Oklahoma and the entire pork industry as a whole. They may not all live on a farm or be around pigs everyday, but they all have a purpose in this growing industry. •
Advice for younger women in the industry:
I would like to see the younger generation get more involved in the pork industry. I would like them to know that nothing worth having comes easy but there is no greater satisfaction in life than to know you played a role in feeding the world and you achieved that goal in the most humane way possible. Farming is not easy by any means but the end result is worth all the blood, sweat and tears we shed. – Dottie King Stick with what you want to do. I don’t think it should matter if you are male or female in whatever role it is that you are after. Be dedicated by showing up to work on time and be outgoing with whatever is handed to you. – Cathy Vaughan You can do anything you set your mind to. If you ant to succeed in the pork industry you can always bring yourself to the top no matter what position you have. Whatever you want to accomplish you can accomplish. – Tina Falcon
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Immersed in the Pork Industry Class 5 of Youth Leadership Camp travels the state learning about pork production by Lindsay Tasos
very year the Oklahoma Pork Council provides a group of young swine enthusiasts an experience they will never forget. The okPORK Youth Leadership Camp allows high school students to go behind the scenes of what farm to fork really means; and that’s exactly what they got. On June 26, campers from across the state arrived in Stillwater, Okla., at the Hampton Inn. okPORK decided to start camp a day earlier than last year so the students could spend more time getting acquainted, learn more about what they were going to see and didn’t feel so rushed. The Campers - Libby Buckmaster, Halie Clark, Brooklyn Evans, Hayes Maher, Logan Maher, Jaydon Maehs, Makala Parsons, Keylon Stogsdill, Tre’ Smith, Lorri Terry, Matthew Whelan, and Tyler Wilkinson began the week with introductions and a quick overview of camp with camp coordinator Nikki Snider and an update on the swine industry with okPORK executive director Roy Lee Lindsey. Each student was then divided into one of three groups that were accompanied by one of our adult staff members - Dinah
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Peebles from the National Pork Board, Dr. Scott Carter from Oklahoma State University, and Rose Bonjour from Oklahoma Career Tech. The teams met with their groups to discuss the scenarios they would be questioned about at the end of camp. Essay writing and social media advocacy were the next workshops. Kristin Alsup explained and worked with the campers on their writing skills and had a lesson on how you broadcast yourself on social media can actually effect your life. The campers ended the first night with dinner from Mexico Joe’s and some team building exercises with okPORK intern, Lindsay Tasos. Monday morning came early for our tired campers who were up late playing card games and getting to know each other. Media training was first on the list. Cindy Cunningham from the National Pork Board provided information on why and how leaders in the agricultural industry need to interact with media. Cunningham then interviewed and critiqued each camper on camera to help them practice for their final on camera interviews that were scheduled for the end of the week.
After some delicious pizza from Hideaway Pizza and some more media training, the anxious campers hopped on a bus and headed to Ames, Okla., – for the first of many trips – to tour the sow barn at Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma’s Trails End 2 facility. Jeff Mencke, production manager for Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma, joined the campers on the bus and described the shower in and out process and explained the importance of having a strict bio-security system. The campers then split into two different groups to tour the 11,000 sow farm. Many of the campers agreed that seeing the farm and asking questions helped them understand more about what goes on at a commercial sow operation. “Roberts Ranch was one of my favorite things about camp,” Evans said. “I didn’t know that many sows could fit into one single barn.” The questions continued when the campers joined Roberts Ranch staff for a full and mouth-watering pork dinner at the Rock House. The staff had the opportunity to explain in further detail about the operation and Myrl Mortenson, founding partner of Hanor, the parent company of Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma, spoke about the history and future of Roberts Ranch. “Listening and asking questions at Roberts Ranch helped me better understand the industry,” Smith said. “It also made me want to tour other parts of their farms and maybe apply for an internship when I get into college.” As the day came to a close, the campers loaded back up on the bus and headed back to Stillwater. Day three started early as the campers listened to Joe Popplewell discuss the breeding and genetics program for Seaboard Foods. Popplewell helped the students understand the chain of production for a large, vertically integrated farm operation and how the genetics of commercial pigs vary greatly from those of show animals. The campers then got back on the bus and headed to the Oklahoma State University’s Totusek Arena where swine herd manager John Staude explained how to properly evaluate a commercial market hog. The students divided into their groups and evaluated a live market hog before harvesting. Each team had recorded their guesses for their hog’s loin eye area, dressing weight, backfat, and other measurements that would be measured for real as they processed the meat from the hog. Students then loaded back on the bus and headed to OSU’s Food and Agricultural Processing Center where Morgan Nelison, Jake Nelson, Kyle Flynn and other FAPC staff guided the campers in harvesting the three hogs that they had just evaluated. “Getting the opportunity to harvest an animal was awesome,” Wilkinson said. “My favorite part was when I got to saw the carcass in half.” While at FAPC the students gained knowledge about the food industry through hands-on experience by converting hogs into a usable protein source for the food supply. “I have never gotten to do anything like that,” Parsons said. “It was an eye opening opportunity to be able to actually do the harvesting instead of just hearing about it.” After cleaning up and eating a quick lunch, the campers
again boarded the bus for the long ride over to Guymon, Okla. While on the bus, Peebles began the first part of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus Program. This allowed the students to gain more knowledge and ask questions regarding the swine industry to better prepare them for the Youth PQA+ test that they would take later in the week. Once in Guymon, the campers put their bags in their hotel rooms and then headed to Hunny’s to eat a delicious pork buffet that consisted of pulled pork, baked beans and other delicious items. The campers also listened and engaged with Jason Hitch and Brad Loyal from Hitch Enterprises. Hitch spoke about the history of the operation and how it had been a part of his family since the 1800s. He also spoke about how important it is to communicate with other producers to help advocate yourself in the industry. Back at the hotel the campers got together to write thank you notes to the speakers and go over what they had learned regarding their scenarios. On the fourth day everyone was up bright and early to head to the Seaboard Foods processing plant. Once at the plant, campers met in the employee training room to get a brief overview of the plant, rules, regulations and what to expect when they viewed the facilities. They then changed into protective attire and began the long tour. The Seaboard Plant allowed campers to experience a large scale processing plant. The opportunity allowed them to see harvesting the hogs and how they are processed for meat and then how that meat is packaged and shipped all over the world. The campers were amazed that the plant processes more than 19,000 hogs a day in such an organized and efficient manner. “I really enjoyed the Seaboard Foods processing plant tour,” Terry said. “It was interesting to go through the entire factory and see every job there.” continued on next page
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After the tour some of the Seaboard Foods staff took the campers to a pizza buffet before getting back on the bus. Next the campers arrived in Woodward, Okla., where Bert Luthi of Luthi Farms greeted them. Luthi talked about his family owned farm and how to manage a contract farm. After saying thank you and goodbye the campers headed back to the bus for the long drive back to Oklahoma City. On the way back the campers reviewed their Youth PQA+ materials for the test. That evening the campers were treated to a fun night at Dave and Buster’s where they ate finger foods and had unlimited opportunity to play video games. Back at the hotel the campers had a short swimming session before meeting back up with their groups to discuss their scenarios and catch up on writing thank you notes. After a fun night it was time to get back to work. First on the schedule for Thursday morning was the Youth PQA+ test. The campers arrived at the Oklahoma Blood Institute Conference Room where they all successfully passed their exams and became PQA certified. Next on the agenda was a visit from Oklahoma lobbyist James McSpadden, Representative Emily Virgin and Representative John Pfeiffer. The curious students quickly came up with questions for the legislative panel and the discussion was wide in the range of topics and deep in substance on each. The lobbyist explained the benefits of advocating, each representative gave their differing opinion of State Question 777 and how it is going to affect our industry and each panel member talked about the upcoming election. They also spoke
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about other topics about the agricultural industry. After the advocacy panel the students loaded back on the bus and headed over to Platt Culinary School. Before campers toured the school they were invited to have a lunch cooked by Don Theiry, Platt’s Culinary Director. Lunch consisted of a ginormous pork chop, veggie noodles, mushroomed potatoes and a melt-in-your-mouth, amazing, warm chocolate cookie. The full campers then enjoyed a quick tour through the school’s facility where they learned that they get a majority of their pork, including the pork chop sitting in their bellies, from the Seaboard Foods Plant. The campers also learned about the stages of the school and how they prepare students for a career in the culinary industry. After the tour the campers jumped back on the bus and headed to the Sonic Test Lab and Corporate Restaurant. The students had the opportunity to listen in on new ideas that Sonic is testing and they even got to create their own Sonic drinks at the Corporate Restaurant while Sonic Executive Chef, Eddie Hartwick, talked about how Sonic uses pork on its menu. Everyone listening was blow away by the various pork-based menu choices and at the volume of pork used by Sonic yearly. That evening the campers participated in a service project by serving dinner at the Stillwater First Methodist Church Community Center. Each student was assigned to a different task that consisted of serving drinks, food or helping do dishes. The idea of the service project was to get the campers involved within a community and to talk to people who weren’t involved with the swine industry. The campers not only gained communication skills from the event, but they left feeling good
about helping a part of Stillwater’s community that faces great needs each day. After helping out at the church the campers were pretty hungry themselves so the group headed over to Eskimo Joe’s for some much needed bacon cheese fries, pool and good food. “Even though it wasn’t a tour, Eskimo Joe’s was still a cool place to go,” Buckmaster said. “I had never been there so it was a first time for me.” After the day’s events the students prepared themselves for their media interviews by asking each other questions and going over their scenarios as a group one final time. On the last day the campers were up and ready to go by 7:30 a.m. They headed back to FAPC to finish processing the hogs that they had harvested on Tuesday. The staff welcomed them back and helped them get into the proper gear to finish cutting the carcasses. Dr. Gretchen Mafi, Jake Nelson, and members of the meats judging team guided the groups as they cut the carcass into primal cuts, trimmed all the extra fat, removed the bones and weighed each primal cut. “Processing the hogs was my favorite part about camp,” Evans said. “I want to be a meat inspector someday and getting a hands on experience helped.” After finishing with the carcass processing the students made their way to Oklahoma Horizons where the media interviews would take place. Each camper went into the studio individually where they were asked a series of questions that were related to their groups scenario. This allowed the camper to put all of their knowledge from camp to work. Afterwards, Austin Moore, reporter for Oklahoma Horizons,
replayed the footage for all of the campers to see. He then stopped after each individual to highlight the good things they said and what they could have worked on. This experience taught the campers how to better promote the pork industry even when the reporter is not on your side. A tour of Gallagher Iba Arena and Boone Pickens Stadium began the finale of camp. Students were then joined by parents, siblings, agricultural educators and pork producers in the O-Club for a closing meal that consisted of another incredible pork dish, of course. Dr. Clint Rusk, OSU Animal Science department head, was the guest speaker and delivered a powerful message to the campers and audience. Rusk handed out a piece of paper that had the Pyramid of Success on it. He then went into detail about the pyramid and how it can help you become a more successful individual. When the speech came to an end it was time to hand out certificates to the campers documenting they had completed camp. Each group leader told a bit about how each camper interacted with the group throughout the week. Campers also had the opportunity to introduce their guests and share their favorite moments about camp. After the banquet, students said their goodbyes and took a few more pictures together before they parted ways. “I enjoyed everything about camp,” Maehs said. “It was a great experience to see how farm to fork really works and it was an experience that I won’t ever forget.” •
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A word (or several) from Libby Buckmaster | Junior | Porter, Oklahoma
My favorite part of camp was the sow farm tour because it was a much bigger operation than I have ever seen before. I was surprised. I would tell anyone considering YLC to try it. It made me grow and also understand my communication skills
Halie Clark | Senior | Mangum, Okla.
I enjoyed touring the sow farm because I couldn’t even imagine having 11,000 pigs in one barn. It was fun to see how an operation like that works. I want to tell all FFA students to consider this camp. It a great experience to go through and lots of fun.
Brooklyn Evans | Senior | Sand Springs, Okla.
I liked getting to see the sow farm at Roberts Ranch. I didn’t know you could get that many hogs into one barn.
Jaydon Maehs | Senior | Morrison, Okla.
My favorite part of camp was seeing how farm to fork really works. I would tell anyone considering YLC to just go for it and not to be nervous in the interview process – just be yourself.
Hayes Maher | Senior | Mooreland, Okla.
I really enjoyed visiting the FAPC (Food & Agricultural Products Center) where we were able to do hands on processing. Definitely go. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It’s fun and you learn so much.
Logan Maher | Junior | Mooreland, Okla.
My favorite part of camp was getting to meet different people and going from place to place within a week. If you’re looking forward to a future in the pork industry, it’s probably the best camp that you can attend.
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m the campers . . . Makala Parsons | Junior | Luther, Okla.
I enjoyed meeting great people. I also enjoyed the team building activities and the teamwork on our scenarios throughout the week. Going to this camp is a smart decision. It was a very eye opening experience for me.
Tre Smith | Junior | Sand Springs, Okla.
I loved that we were able to learn so much in such a short amount of time,” said Smith. “I appreciate having an experience that most kids will never get. It’s probably one of the best decisions that you will ever make. I’ve gone to other camps and paid $3,000 and I didn’t learn as much as I did at this one. And it was free so it makes no sense not to try to go to YLC.
Keylon Stogsdill | Junior | Welch, Okla.
My favorite part of camp was visiting the sow farm. It was neat to see how they could feed that many sows in a few minutes and the measures they take for biosecurity purposes. Do the best you can to attend this camp because you really do want to come here. It’s a great experience and you get to have great food. You also get to hang out with some of the coolest leaders and have a great time.
Lorri Terry | Junior | Blair, Okla.
My favorite part of camp was seeing the Seaboard Plant because it was really interesting to see how the plant worked and see the people that work in that job every day. I would tell anyone considering YLC to just go for it. You are going to have so much fun and really enjoy it.
Matt Whelan | Senior | Eufaula, Okla.
My favorite part of camp was getting to go into the Seaboard Plant. I think it really pushed me in the direction for what I want to do as a career. I really liked going into the shipping room where they packaged the meat into boxes. I would tell anyone considering YLC that you really need to apply. It’s one of the best camps I’ve attended all summer.
Tyler Wilkinson | Junior | Cement, Okla.
I enjoyed touring the Seaboard Plant. It was nice to see how their operations work and how they utilize every part of the pig. Definitely try to attend this camp because it’s been a great week and just the amount of fun we have had and the information we absorbed about the pork industry is amazing.
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photo by Lindsay Tasos
the Turf is Greener
on the Other Side
n okPORK staple for MANY years got a facelift this year. Instead of heading to Hennessey to hit the greens, Oklahoma pork producers converged in the center of the state to enjoy a day of golf. In order to attract new teams and just plain mix it up a bit, okPORK staff and board decided to move the golf tournament to the John Conrad Golf Course in Midwest City, Okla. “This venue was certainly a step in the right direction to attract more teams. It was a great course and wonderful place to play,” said Lloyd Hawkins, okPORK community outreach coordinator. For days, everyone was eyeing the August 12th date to see if the oppressive summer heat would let up or beat down on the players. That morning dawned with clouds in the sky and before noon a “not-as-hot” front had made its way to central Oklahoma.
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Steady summer rains helped keep the course in great shape. “I thought the new venue was fantastic. All of our people that traveled further enjoyed the day and thought the course was well taken care of,” said Joe Popplewell, Seaboard Foods and okPORK Board Member. “The management team was very helpful and courteous. Ir was a really great day!” The wonderful weather was a big perk of golf tournament day. The staff at the John Conrad Course was another. Filling the drink coolers, helping set up the clubhouse, working on tallying the score cards and determining flights were tasks that the golf course staff helped with. “I really appreciate how the golf course staff helped us,” said Hawkins. “The set up of the course and location of the clubhouse made serving everyone lunch a breeze.” As they made their way through the course, players from the
eight teams enjoyed Hawgaritas thanks to cart driver and board member Phil Oliphant and okPORK intern Lindsay Tasos made many rounds with the drink cart to make sure everyone had access to water, beer and Gatorade. By lunchtime the teams were ready to rest their feet in the clubhouse and have a bite to eat. This is how the scores played out: Men’s Longest Drive – Danny Wymore Women’s Longest Drive – Shawn Carey Men’s Closest to the Pin – James Cravens 1st Place Team – Seaboard Foods Roger Patterson, Caleb Patterson, Jerry Burkhardt, Marinus Leroux 2nd Place Team – Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma Robbie Woods, Ryan Cooper,
Danny Wymore, Darrell Wymore 3rd Place Team – T & W Tire / Dusty Runnels, John Russell, Howard Blair, James Cravens And the day of golf wouldn’t have even happened without the generous support of these sponsors. So we’ll end by giving a hearty thank you to: Mansion Farm – The Kings | McSpadden & Associates | Robinson Family Farms | Blue & Gold Sausage Okemah Chamber of Commerce | National Pork Board Byford Auto Group | First Oklahoma Ag Network | DNA Swine Genetics | Tyson Foods | Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association | The Maschhoffs | Oklahoma Youth Exposition Phil & Cathy Oliphant | Win – Win, LLC. •
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A Summer Full of Memories M
ost college students dream of a summer that’s full of beach trips, vacations and late nights out, but that wasn’t the case for me because I was offered the internship of a lifetime. I first heard about the Oklahoma Pork Council last fall when Roy Lee Lindsey came and talked to my swine science class at Oklahoma State University. One of my first questions to him after his presentation was what kinds of jobs does the pork industry offer in Oklahoma and what it was like to work for the Oklahoma Pork Council. His responses opened up my eyes and made me want a career in this growing industry. Then one day when I was scrolling through my emails, which normally consist of job openings and internship opportunities from my advisors, I noticed the subject in one particular email that read Oklahoma Pork Council Internship. My heart immediately leapt with excitement because I knew that this could be the one opportunity I have to see what it’s like working in the swine industry before I graduate. Once I interviewed and received the position as the OPC intern I knew that this summer was going to be the best one yet. When I started in May, I didn’t know what to expect, but that’s what made it so much fun. I got to experience things about the swine industry that I would have never dreamed of. I started off at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, where I attended an internship training hosted by the Pork Checkoff. Not only did I get to meet and interact with different interns from around the United States, but I was able to learn and gain different skills from industry professionals. The training prepared me for different things that I might encounter while working at the Oklahoma Pork Council. I also was able to walk around the trade show to get an inside look at new technology to improve commercial hog operations as well as watch the purebred barrow show. One of the biggest projects assigned to me during my internship was the okPORK Youth Leadership Camp. I have had experiences planning events in the past but never an event this
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big. Turns out I learned just as much as the kids did. My job duties may have included organizing binders, t-shirts and food, but the experience I gained by going on the tours and asking questions with the students gave me a bigger understanding and more respect for what goes on behind the scenes of a commercial hog operation. During my time at YLC I got to truly experience how farm to fork really works. We went to Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma to see thousands of sows and their babies and learn how they are sent to Iowa once weaned, then we went to the Oklahoma State University Food and Agricultural Processing Center to evaluate and harvest market ready hogs, and then we visited the Seaboard plant to see basically a large scale version of FAPC. Even though camp mainly consisted of visiting farms and plants, the students were also given the opportunity to tour the Sonic Headquarters in Oklahoma City, eat food at Platt College and meet and ask questions of Oklahoma legislators. Assisting with the Board Retreat, okPORK PAGES and the OPC Golf Tournament were some of the other things I was given the opportunity to do. I also learned communication skills and knowledge about the swine industry that I know I would have never gotten if it weren’t for this internship. I have always wanted a career in the livestock industry and this internship allowed me to experience it full force. My plans after I graduate remain the same. I still want to work in marketing and communications for a livestock organization like the Oklahoma Pork Council. If I am unable to find a job like that by the time I graduate this semester I intend on enrolling in graduate school majoring in International Agriculture with a focus in Marketing. I just want to thank everyone who pushed me and encouraged me to apply for this internship. The OPC crew has become a family to me and I wouldn’t have traded this summer for the world. Thanks guys, it’s been a fun ride! • by Lindsay Tasos
A Fun Day to Honor BBJ
adio remotes have been part of okPORK’s marketing since the budget grew large enough to include advertising. In the not so distant past, one of the radio personalities we worked with was Bob Barry, Jr., the noted Oklahoma City Sports Reporter. In addition to his role as sports director at KFOR-TV, Barry was part of the Sports Morning show on WWLS The Sports Animal (640 AM). It was as part of the Sports Morning team that Barry wound up talking with okPORK staff on-air while they cooked some pork on the grill to share with patrons who happened to be visiting the grocery store. “okPORK was blessed to have many opportunities to work with BBJ over the years”, said Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr., okPORK executive director. “When you’re trying to ‘sell’ food and cooking over the radio you almost need a larger than life personality to keep people interested. From on-site remotes to
in-studio segments BBJ was a great friend and a promoter for okPORK. There was no way we were going to miss the chance to say thank you and honor BBJ.” Barry was involved in a motorcycle accident in June of 2015 and tragically died as a result. The Oklahoma City broadcasting community and his viewers/listeners were instantly aware of the void he would leave in the sports world. Just over a year after his death, the first BBJ Memorial Golf Tournament was held. During the tournament on August 8th, okPORK handed out chop sticks (that’s smoked pork loin on a stick wrapped in bacon) to the 220 golfers in attendance. They also handed out pork jerky and koozies to the golfers. And in a fun twist of fate, okPORK staff had a few minutes to go on the radio once more to talk bout BBJ and how he was such an important part of their pork promotions. What a fun and fitting day to honor an Oklahoma sportscasting legend. •
Pictured: (above left) okPORK’s golf team with Gina Barry. Team members are Representative Scooter Park, Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr., Jim Thomas of Sodexo, and Darren Wheeler owner of Wheeler’s Meat Market. (below) okPORK staff serve chop sticks and golfers enjoy them in between rounds.
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This Town Goes
W h o l e H aw g ! T
he community of Eufaula during summer is basically a sub-sample of Oklahoma’s population. You see, the beautiful lake community beckons to people from all across Oklahoma to enjoy the small-town atmosphere and have some fun on the water. The last weekend in July is an especially large draw due to the Whole Hawg Days Celebration. On Saturday, thousands of people descend upon Main Street as the smell of barbecue fills the air. The night before, 24 amateur barbecue cooking teams received a smoker box full of pork cuts. They worked their magic with marinades and seasonings and then heated up the smokers. Many stayed up all night to keep their eyes on the temperatures and make sure nothing went awry. What prompted these home-town cooks to go to all this trouble? Bragging rights, a generous cash prize, and the fun of feeding all those folks on Main Street. “I’ve loved being part of this event for the past three years,” said Chef Eddie Hartwick. “It’s amazing to see the cook-off grow and see the quality of meat improve each year.” When Hartwick started judging three years ago there were only 14 teams involved. This year there were 24 teams involved. Hartwick’s involvement had a large impact on that growth. He took the time to talk to each team about their entries, showing them what they were doing really well and giving them tips where they needed to improve. The teams received the feedback really well and were very appreciative of having the input from an expert chef – Hartwick has many years of experience catering with pork products and is now the Executive Chef at Sonic’s Headquarters in Oklahoma City. “It’s great to talk to the teams year after year,” Hartwick said. “It takes a lot of time to go through all the judging and giving the feedback but I don’t mind at all. The best reward is tasting the meat each year and seeing how they are using the tips I’ve given them to improve their technique.” In addition to making the connection so Hartwick could judge the cookoff, okPORK has increased its contribution to Whole Hawg Days by donating meat for the cookoff that the teams are required to smoke and hand out to the patrons. “Whole Hawg Days is one of the biggest local community events we are involved in each year and I’m always amazed at how many that are there enjoying the barbecue,” said Lloyd Hawkins, okPORK community outreach coordinator. In addition to great barbecue, Whole Hawg Days offers great local shopping, a poker run (on the water and on the road), a parade, a car show, a carnival and a rodeo. It’s truly an event that has something for everyone and is growing each year. •
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Pictured - Top: Tammy Whiteley, Eddie Hartwick, and Lloyd Hawkins taste samples from the BBQ Cookoff teams. Middle: Scrumptious meat right off the smokers. Bottom: The winning BBQ Cookoff team.
TA S T E of Elegance
Sept. 27 | Embassy Suites, Norman Tickets on sale now! $50 each. Contact March of Dimes of Central Oklahoma, (405)943-1025.
November 18 | 6 p.m. | Vast | Tickets $125 | Call 405.232.3781
Armed Forces Day Red Dirt BBQ – On May 18th at Elmer Thomas Park the barbecues were smoking, and everyone was enjoying the early summer weather in honor of Armed Forces Day. okPORK donated slabs or ribs for the barbecue teams. “I cannot thank you and the Council enough. Your efforts truly enhanced the Armed Forces Day Music Festival and Red Dirt BBQ,” said John Beemer, event coordinator.
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Support Oklahoma’s RIGHT to Farm Oklahoma Ag Groups invite you to join us for a SPORTING CLAYS SHOOT
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016
Silverleaf Shotgun Sports, 8513 S. Douglas Blvd., Guthrie, OK Registration • 11 a.m. | Lunch • Noon Mandatory Safety Meeting • 12:30 p.m. | Begin Shooting • 1 p.m.
ENTRY FEE: $75/individual or $300/team On-site Entry Fee: $100/individual or $400/team
ALL PROCEEDS GO TO OKLAHOMA FARMERS CARE to support the SQ777 Vote Yes Campaign. MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Oklahoma Farmers Care
PLEASE RETURN ENTRIES BY: WEDNESDAY, OCT. 7
To learn more, enter online & read rules, visit
www.okcattlemen.org Company: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ City: ___________________________________________State: ________________________Zip: ____________________________ Phone: ______________________________________ Email: __________________________________________________________ _____Team
Please list team members:
Cash/Check payable to: Oklahoma Farmers Care
Credit Card Number: ____________________________________________Exp. Date: _____________ SSC: __________________ Return your entry to: Jeff Jaronek, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Box 82395, 24 |PO okPORK PAGESOklahoma City, OK 73148 • Ph: (405) 235-4391 • Fax: (405) 235-3608 • Email: email@example.com
Favorite Fall Recipes All-Star Pork Meatballs 1 pound ground pork 1 tablespoon onion flakes 3/4 cup corn flakes, crushed 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 egg 1/4 cup ketchup 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, onion flakes, corn flakes, salt, pepper and egg. In a small bowl stir together ketchup, brown sugar and dry mustard. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the ketchup mixture into the pork and mix well. Spray muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray. Form 6 meatballs and place in muffin tin. Coat the top of each meatball with the remaining ketchup mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F., until nicely glazed and internal temperature is 160 degrees F.
Easy Cheesy Pork Chop and Rice Casserole 4 New York (top loin) pork chops, 3/4-inch thick 2 cups cooked long-grain white rice 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 1 cup ricotta cheese, or cottage cheese salt and pepper 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for casserole dish 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the rice, vegetables, cheddar, ricotta or cottage cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, sprinkle the Parmesan on top, and set aside. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chops and cook until browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Arrange the chops, browned side up, on top of the rice mixture and bake until the rice mixture is hot and the chops are cooked to 145 degrees F., about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 3 minutes. Serve the chops over the rice mixture, sprinkled with the parsley, if using.
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901 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380 Oklahoma City, OK 73104-3206
Prep: 40 min | Cook: 45 min | Serves 12 Ingredients 24 2-inch thinly-sliced square ham 6 tablespoons heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 9 2-inch diameter Yukon gold potatoes, or creamer potatoes, red, white, or a combination 3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 ounces) 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Cooking Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the whipping cream and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Peel then thinly slice them. Layer about 1/3 of the potatoes into the muffin cups, arranging the slices into neat stacks. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the cream mixture over each stack. Place a piece of ham on top, then sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the thyme. Repeat another layer of potatoes, cream mixture, ham, cheese and thyme. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the potato stacks from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and remaining thyme. Continue to bake uncovered until the cheese is golden and the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before using a spoon or offset spatula to carefully remove the stacks from the muffin cups.
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