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okPORKPAGES official magazine of the Oklahoma Pork Council |

Volume 21 | Issue 3 | Fall 2017

Class 6 | Youth Leadership Camp

Contents Summer 2017

3 | President Speaks 4 | Executive Review 6 |A Day in the Life is Back! 7 | 73 Pigs and Counting 9 | Breaking Records 10 |Youth for Pork 12 | Clear Eyes & Full Hearts 18 |Training With Toys 20 | One Step at a Time... 22 |Summit on the Summit 23 | Whole Hawg Days 24 | Passion for Pigs On the Cover 2017 YLC Campers recieve the opportunity to meet and speak with industry professionals around the state.

okPORKPAGES Fall 2017 | Volume 21 | Issue 3 BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS President | Phil Oliphant, El Reno President Elect | Joe Popplewell, Stillwater Vice President | Robbie Woods, Enid Treasurer | Paris Robinson, Holdenville BOARD MEMBERS Dottie King, Calvin Sara Linneen, Holdenville Keith Reiner, Enid Cathy Vaughan, Rosston Chris Wallis, Allen EX OFFICIO Dr. Scott Carter, Stillwater Brett Ramsey, Jones Rob Richard, Oklahoma City STAFF Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. | Office Manager Christine Ayala-Sanchez | Director of Marketing and Promotions Nikki Snider | Communications Specialist Lindsay Tasos | Event and Outreach Specialist Lloyd Hawkins | 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 | 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 Writing and Design | Lindsay Tasos, Nikki Snider Editing | Christine Sanchez

Photo by Lindsay Tasos 2|

Stay Connected : search okpork


Team Work Makes the Dream Work! by Phil Oliphant


In any business with employees, team work is a must to be successful. Developing a team and keeping a team can be a real challenge. Owners and managers must know what positions they need filled and hire accordingly. For example, you do not hire a Chihuahua to do a Great Dane’s job and same goes for the other way around, no matter how cute she is. When interviewing potential prospects, it is worth your time to ask a lot of questions to gain knowledge about their experiences, expertise and goals. If they are needed for your team, hire them and if they are not needed, given their level of experience, then do not hire them. Many new employees that are under qualified become discouraged and end up quitting and over qualified employees get bored and frustrated if not put in the right workplace position. As new team members join and begin training supervision is a must. Without proper tools the new team member is setup for failure. Finding tasks they can complete and do well will set them up for success. Sometimes you get employees that have little or no experience with pigs. If the new team member has no experience with hogs they need to start in an area where he/she can accomplish tasks such as maintenance, cleaning or record keeping. If the worker jumps into an area too soon that he/she has little to no experience in, they may become frustrated, discouraged and eventually quit. The same concept applies to the new team members that have more experience. If he/she works in an area without a challenge he/she may have the same ending result. Most hog farms are not overstaffed, but still have several people waiting at the door trying to get a job in or around the operation. Most businesses need their employees to

multi-task and share responsibilities with one another. We all have to work in areas of our jobs that we don’t like, but we must be able to complete the tasks ahead of us. As we place employees into their best areas, we increase our odds by keeping them on the team, which increases production. So how do you keep a team going? It is very important to have a handful of managers who can evaluate employees and teach them how to improve in their specific work area. I think of these situations like a good sandwich! All employees want to be appreciated, so I begin with the first slice of bread as a compliment for what they are doing right. The slice may be thin, for some and thick for others. Then we get to the meat of our visit which consist of a conversation of what we can do to improve or change. Honesty is valuable and required to keep your company succeeding (you might want to add napkins for this part of the sandwich.) Stay calm and make time for all of the toppings: their questions or comments. They may sound like excuses to you but please make sure you hear them out. Okay, lets finish with another slice of bread: encouragement and goals. Let them know they are a crucial part of how your operation runs. Just be honest! Good luck and always keep improving. •



Daily Routines


by Roy Lee Lindsey

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my local convenience store as I do far too many times a week to get myself a large unsweet iced tea. In this store, the sweet tea is always the third dispenser from the left and the unsweet tea is the fourth. On this particular day, I grabbed the cup and filled it with ice and then stepped over to the dispenser that always contained unsweet tea. I didn’t bother to read the labels, I just filled up my cup and stepped over the to the counter to add my lid and straw. I was halfway to the register to pay for my drink when I took the first drink of my tea and almost choked. My cup was full of sweet tea. I went back to the dispensers to see if maybe the clerks had mixed up the bags of tea when they brewed the last dispenser but that’s not what had happened. The clerks had actually switched the dispensers and traded the usual places for the sweet and unsweet tea. My daily routine/habit of just stepping to a specific dispenser didn’t include reading the label. It was just cup, ice, tea. Initially I was frustrated with the clerks who had moved my tea. Why didn’t they do their job and put the tea back in the right place? Didn’t they know their customers were in the habit of just grabbing the handle on the dispenser and not actually reading the labels? As I continued to think about this throughout the morning, I began to question if the fault in this situation wasn’t entirely mine. I’m the one who didn’t read the label. And why hadn’t I read the label? Because I had developed a routine that led me to believe it wasn’t necessary to read the entire label. As I pondered how my routines had influenced my actions – and influenced may not be near a strong enough word – I began to think about the routines we develop and are those things good or bad. On farms across the state, we have routines that have evolved in how we feed animals, how we move animals, how


we inspect the farms for hazards and how we evaluate the care we provide to our animals. Every farm has a protocol they follow every single day. My challenge to you is to think about how your routine may limit how you see what is actually happening at your farm. How often does the Pork Quality Assurance assessor find something that needs improvement you know you had just checked? Did you ever hear the adage of “getting a fresh set of eyes” to look at the problem? Routines are not bad. They provide comfort to us and to our animals. But if we get lost in the routine and aren’t really paying attention to what’s going on around us we can end up with final product that is not what we wanted or expected. Kind of like that big jolt of extra sweet tea because you didn’t read the label. •


Friday, October 27, 2017

John Conrad Golf Course


That’s right! okPORK has revamped their famous “A Day in the Life” stories that allow viewers to go behind the scenes on what hog farmers actually do. The stories used to be blog posts, written by the producers themselves but this time okPORK has decided to use video blogs instead of written ones. Our first “A Day in the Life” videos are up for your viewing pleasure on YouTube today! Join in on a journey through the life of Oklahoma’s pig farmers. Whether in the barn, on the road or in civic groups these folks care about people, pigs and the planet. Peek behind the doors and get a full view of what farmers do each day. Farmers stay busy caring for their animals all day - whether they are bringing new life into the world, keeping the pigs healthy or cleaning the barn to get ready for new mama pigs to give birth. Here we are open, honest and willing to discuss the “tough” topics because pig farmers give the best care to their animals. We want to expand “A Day in the Life” and make it better than ever before. Be ready to see commercial producers, inspectors, show pig operations and even our Youth Leadership Camp kids! If you know of anyone who would be interested in being filmed for “A Day in the Life” contact the okPORK office. Click here to view the videos. 6|

Bradt Wins State 4-H Swine Award


ustin Bradt is an energetic, pig showing, football playing boy from Laverne, Okla., who started 9th grade this month. He is also the 2017 recipient of the State 4-H Swine Award. okPORK sponsors this award and the corresponding $1,200 scholarship and it was exciting to hear Austin’s name called as the winner this year because his dad, Spencer Bradt, served on the okPORK board in the early 2000s. “It felt great to win the award. I was nervous at the banquet because I didn’t think I would win,” Bradt said. “It was really fun to get this award.” Austin received this award in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in showing swine over the past seven years. He has shown 73 pigs in 31 jackpots, eight county shows, six district shows, and seven state fairs. He likes to show Yorkshire and Hampshire hogs, and Austin’s goal is to raise and feed out the perfect pig. As he works toward that goal, Austin has become a supreme showman. He has won his showmanship division eight years in a row. “My favorite showing experience was winning first place at the district show with a gilt I’d raised,” Bradt said. “It’s always a rewarding experience to watch a pig grow and then see how they succeed in the show ring.” Austin’s skills extend beyond the show ring as well. He is a known leader in his 4-H club and has been part of 68 community service projects and lead 18 workshops as a 4-Her. He served as club secretary in 2011 and club president from 2012-2014.

Austin Bradt (right) receives his State 4-H Swine Award from Dr. Clint Rusk, OSU Animal Science Dept. Head. “It’s important to me to step up and hold workshops because it’s a way I can help the younger kids learn how to properly care for their pigs,” Bradt said. Austin started a 4-H club in 2015 specifically for kids with swine projects. This year Bradt held his first Swine Showmanship Clinic. Bradt says the hog industry will be part of his future. “I want to raise show pigs,” Bradt said. “I spend a lot of time studying genetics and I’d love to go to college to learn more about genetics.” •

One more way okPORK supports Oklahoma 4-H is sponsorship of the Pistol Pete’s Picnic at Oklahoma 4-H Roundup. okPORK has sponsored the picnic for several years and this year’s event had a new spin. It was held in Gahllager-Iba Arena for the first time and was a recruiting opportunity for Oklahoma State University. Fiftytwo booths featuring university departments and organizations were set up for the 4-Hers to peruse. The 4-H talent show was also held in the center of the arena so students could enjoy the performance while they ate and looked at the booths. Pistol Pete and Joe and Buffy, Eskimo Joe’s mascots, were also on hand for photos with the 4-Hers. “okPORK’s sponsorship of Pete’s Picnic during State 4-H Roundup allows us to provide an opportunity for fellowship, networking and career development opportunities to 4-H members while they are on campus in Stillwater,” said Blayne Arthur, 4-H Foundation executive director. “The picnic was a Roundup highlight for many 4-H members.” • |7

Honoring a Friend and Trusted Partner

“When you’re trying to ‘sell’ food and cooking over the radio you almost need a larger than life personality to keep people interested.” – Roy Lee Lindsey


ne of those personalities okPORK had the honor to work with over the years was Oklahoma sportscasting ledged Bob Barry, Jr. So, it was an easy affirmative decision when we were approached to be part of the second Bob Barry Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament in June. 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 cooking 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. 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 views/listeners were instantly stuck by what a 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 second tournament on June 12th of this year, okPORK teamed up with HotCo to prepare tender, tasty pork chops to the 220 golfers in attendance. okPORK also had a team of pork producers on hand to play in the afternoon flight of the golf tournament. 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. •

okPORK Breaks Record at Annual Blood Drive


or the past 11 years, okPORK and the Oklahoma Blood Institute team up for the annual Memorial Day Blood Drive held on the last weekend of May. This year’s event included the theme “Give Local” and a record-breaking number of 1,319 donors that were accounted for at the OBI buildings and busses around the state. A total of 3,957 lives were saved. Five hundred pounds of pork sandwiches were also given away to donors in appreciation for giving blood, along with a free “You had me at bacon” t-shirt and free Oklahoma City Zoo passes. “The dedication and support of the Oklahoma Pork Council made it possible to for Oklahoma Blood Institute to ensure that there would be enough blood to supply area hospitals through the Memorial Day weekend,” Billy Hendrix, OBI events manager said. “Oklahoma Blood Institute is

grateful for the commitment to this event from everyone at the Oklahoma Pork Council. Your tremendous support made this record-breaking event a great success.” okPORK employees and board members were involved at the event by cooking and serving pork, speaking on radio remotes and even taking part in the donating process. “We know how critical donating blood in Oklahoma is and the fact that okPORK can be a part of it shows how much we care,” Joe Popplewell, operations manager at Seaboard Foods and President-Elect for the okPORK Board said. “The blood drive is important because it saves lives and allows okPORK to reach out to the community.” If you would like to read more about okPORK events and get more information on the Oklahoma Pork Council, visit •



ot July weather and busy schedules didn’t prevent 12 Oklahoma 4-H and FFA students from participating in the Youth 4 Pork Speech Tournament. okPORK sponsors this event every year and it is held in conjunction with the Swine Day of OSU’s Big 3 Judging Field Days. This year’s speakers did an outstanding job. “We really did have a tough time determining winners this year, and commend you all on a great job,” said Joe Popplewell, Oklahoma pork producer who judged the speeches. So, who were the outstanding speakers who took top honors at the Youth 4 Pork speech contest? We knew you’d want to know so we’re going to tell you. Taking top honors in the Junior 4-H division was Kole Campbell, of Jet, Okla. Teegin Crosthwait of Stillwater, Okla., took second place in the Junior 4-H division. The top speaker in the Senior 4-H division was Kale Campbell of Jet, Okla. Placing second in the Senior 4-H division was Kylee Campbell of Jet, Okla. 10 |

The Junior FFA division placings were, first Cassidy Baughman of Ardmore, Okla., and second Whitney Glazier of Omega, Okla. In the Senior FFA division Jadra McGuire of Wyandotte, Okla., placed first and Makala Parsons of Luther, Okla., placed second. After the first round of speeches, all the first place winners gave their speech again to compete for the overall prize. Jadra McGuire took home those top honors with her speech about using pork byproducts. The student speakers received the gifts of self-confidence, greater knowledge of the pork industry and one more speaking experience under their green or blue jacket. They were also awarded prize money from okPORK — $100 for each first place award, $75 for each second place award and an additional $100 to the overall winner. All in all, it was a pretty great way to spend a hot July afternoon in Stillwater. •

5 Courses, all featuring bacon | 5 Bourbons November 10, 2017 | Vast | 6 p.m. | $125 per plate | Call 405.232.3781 for tickets

4 bone-in ribeye (rib) pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick Salt and pepper 3 tablespoons butter, divided 2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed 2 teaspoons cinnamon Pinch cayenne 2/3 cup apple cider 1/3 cup heavy cream Generously season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Immediately add the pork chops and cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Immediately add the apples and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir in the apple cider and cream. Add the pork chops, nestling them into the liquid, and cook until the internal temperature of the pork reaches between 145 degrees F. (medium rare) and 160 degrees F. (medium), 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve the chops with the apple mixture spooned on top. Serves 4 | 11

Story and photos by Lindsay Tasos


ummer break for most high school students consists of beach trips, vacations and sleeping in. But that wasn’t the case for 12 high school students who wanted nothing more than a week to adventure deep within the swine industry. Just like the past five years, the okPORK provides an all-expenses paid trip for a select group of young agriculturalists to get a real-life farm to fork experience. The adventure began on June 25 at the Best Western in Stillwater, Okla., where campers from across the state eagerly arrived and found their seats. The campers – Angelica Beck, Cade Leonard, Kaylee Holt, Drew Spradlin, Asher Corter, Rhett Taylor, Hallee Hartman, Gracie Allen, Krista Carroll, Tyler Jenkins, Cheyenne Britt and Halley Hoskins kicked off the week by introducing themselves and learning the ropes of Youth Leadership Camp with okPORK director of marketing and promotions Nikki Snider, an overview of the swine

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industry with okPORK executive director Roy Lee Lindsey, a lesson on first impressions with okPORK communications specialist Lindsay Tasos and a lesson about advocating on social media with Snider. After a quick break the campers were split into their selected groups and were accompanied by one of our adult team leaders: Kylee Deniz from the National Pork Board, and Dr. Clint Rusk and Dr. Scott Carter from Oklahoma State University. The teams were each given a different scenario that they would be questioned on at the end of camp during their final media training. The next workshop required the campers and even the adults to get a little crafty. Each team was given a white poster board, scissors, glue and a box full of agricultural magazines. The assignment was to create a collage from the different magazines and share their agriculture story.

Class 6 Youth Leadership Camp gets a full farm to fork experience.

After a yummy dinner from Stillwater’s own Mexico Joes, the campers headed to the Oklahoma State University Campus for an evening scavenger hunt. okPORK staff hid different clues around campus that all were relevant to the swine industry and the first team to get back with all of the clues won the grand prize. Dr. Carter’s team known as “Back in Black” finished the hunt in just 30 minuets! Media training was first on the list on Monday morning. Austin Moore from Oklahoma Horizon and Snider teamed up and provided the campers with information on why it is important for leaders in the agricultural industry to communicate and interact with media. Moore than gave each group a quick scenario that they might come across as students or teachers and interviewed them to help them practice for their final on camera interview scheduled at the end of the week.

After a quick bite to eat and a round of swine industry jeopardy, the excited campers loaded the bus and headed to none other than Ames, Okla., to tour the sow farm at HANOR’s Trails End 2 facility. Jeff Mencke, production manager at the sow farm joined the campers on the bus to give them a quick overview of the farm and the shower in, shower out process they were about to experience. Mencke made sure each of the campers understood the importance of biosecurity at all swine facilities. After showering in, the campers divided into different groups and ventured into the 11,000 head sow farm to get a bird’s eye view on what goes on in a commercial operation. “I really enjoyed seeing the difference between a show pig operation and a commercial operation,” Holt said. With a new perspective on commercial hog farming and minds full of questions, the campers joined HANOR staff for

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a whole hog pork dinner. After a chance to fill up their empty stomachs, the campers listed staff members Bill Barnes and Mencke explain in depth about the operation. As the sun started to set, the full and tired campers again loaded the bus to head back to Stillwater. Seaboard Foods’ Joe Popplewell joined us early Tuesday morning. He discussed the breeding and genetic programs for Seaboard Foods operations. Popplewell helped the campers better understand the chain of production for a large, integrated farm and how the genetics of commercial hogs matter just as much as they would in a show pig operation. Next on the agenda was live hog evaluation at OKlahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Ag Products Center. OSU swine herd manager John Staude then explained about properly evaluating a market hog. After dividing into their groups and evaluated their own live hog and accurately measured it’s loin eye area, back fat, dressing percentage, percentage of muscle and hot carcass weight along with other measurements that would be used as they processed the meat from the hog. After comparing estimates with Staude, the campers moved further into FAPC to put on protective gear and prepare to harvest their hogs. Jake Nelson, Kyle Flynn and other FAPC staff guided the campers in harvesting the three hogs they just evaluated. “When I first got to camp I did not really know what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Britt said. “After harvesting hogs, I think I may want to go into the meat science industry.” While at FAPC the students gained yet another perspective on the farm to fork adventure. They learned about the food industry through a hands-on experience by converting hogs into a usable protein source for consumption. After getting out of their rubber boots and meat frocks, the campers grabbed a quick bite to eat and then boarded the bus for the long drive to Guymon. The students then got into their groups and began discussing their scenarios for the first

hour of the trip. By the time the bus rolled into Guymon, the campers were hungry and after putting their bags down at the hotel they headed off to Hunny’s for a rib filled dinner buffet. With full bellies again the campers listened and engaged with Jason Hitch from Hitch Enterprises about his smaller yet very successful hog operation that has been in his family since the 1990’s. The fourth day came bright and early for the campers as they headed to the Seaboard Foods processing plant. Once at the plant, the campers received an overview of the plant complete with rules and what they were about to expect. They then changed into proper attire and headed in for the tour of the plant. While at the plant the campers experienced a large scale processing center. This allowed them to see how more than 19,000 pigs are processed for meat and then shipped all around the world every day. “This was very different than the FAPC way of processing hogs,” Hoskins said. “I could not believe how fast and organized they were!” After walking the processing plant all morning a stop at Mazzios for some hot pizza was just the ticket before another long bus ride. Woodward, Okla., was next on the map and Bert Luthi of Luthi farms was next on the speakers list. Luthi talked about family farms and managing contract farms. After saying goodbye the campers began the long trek back to Oklahoma City going over their scenarios on the way. Just like last year’s camp, the campers were surprised with a fun evening at Dave and Buster’s where they ate finger foods and had unlimited video game play. Back at the hotel the campers finished up thank you notes and rested for tomorrow’s long day. After a fun night it was time to get back to work. First on the list was YQCA training with Dinah Pebbles of the National

by Nikki Snider 14 |

Pork Board. The campers were some of the first students in Oklahoma to receive the training. Next was a visit from Oklahoma lobbyist James McSpadden, Representative John Pfeiffer and Representative Jon Echols. The students asked numerous questions at the panel all which revolved around the new election and of course the hog industry. They also spoke about Oklahoma’s role in the agricultural industry. “The legislative panel was my favorite part about camp,” Carroll said. “It is nice to know there are people in the capitol that really do care about agriculture.” After the advocacy panel the campers jumped back on the bus and headed to Platt Culinary School where they were given a tour by none other than head chef Don Theiry. During the tour the campers learned about the stages of the school and how students there prepare for a career in the culinary industry. Theiry also cooked a wonderful pork meal for the campers and with a little teamwork the campers got to plate their own food just like a professional cook would. The Sonic Test Lab and Corporate Restaurant was the next stop. The campers had the opportunity to listen and learn about Sonic’s history and how it actually started in Oklahoma. They also got a tour of the test kitchen and were able to learn about how sonic uses pork in their food and about the upcoming ideas that could be available on future Sonic menus. The campers were amazed by the various porkbased menu choices and the volume of pork used by Sonic every year. Every year at camp the students are required to participate in a service project and just like last year the location was the Stillwater First Methodist Church Community Center. Each student was assigned to a different task that consisted of serving drinks, food or helping with the dishes. The idea of the service project was to get the campers involved with a community and talk to them about agriculture. The campers walked away with communication

skills from the event and the heartfelt feeling of helping out someone in need. After helping out at the church, the campers changed clothes at the hotel and headed over to none other than Eskimo Joe’s for some much needed bacon cheese fries and great food. On the last day the campers were ready to go by 7:30 a.m. They headed back to FAPC to finish what they started during the week. The FAPC staff welcomed the teams back and helped them get into the proper gear to finish processing their hogs. Morgan Pfeiffer and Jake Nelson guided the groups as they cut the carcasses into the proper primal cuts. “I did not think I would be interested in the processing hogs part of camp,” Jenkins said. “After I got used to it, it actually was my favorite part.” After finishing up with the carcasses the campers loaded up and made their way to Oklahoma Horizons where they were greeted again by Austin Moore. Each student was interviewed in regards to their team scenario and then the footage was played back to the campers for proper critiquing. “Believe it or not the interview was my favorite part of camp,” Hoskins said. “I have a passion for photography and media and I know I will use the skills I gained here down the road as a professional.” A new event was held for the end of camp get together and instead of a sit-down banquet, okPORK hosted a picnic at the Totusek Arena. The campers played volleyball, listened to music and enjoyed pork burgers with their families and friends they gained while at camp. After the meal, each group leader camp up and talked about each camper and handed out a certificate as well. The campers then said their goodbyes and took a few more pictures together before parting ways and heading home. “Camp is something I will never forget,” Leonard said. “I know the friendships I made will last a lifetime.” •

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Angelica Beck | Holdenville, Okla.

My favorite part about Youth Leadership camp was learning about the large sow operations and seeing how they differ from our small family farms. Robert’s Ranch had a lot more employees and it was interesting to see how organized and how clean they kept their work environment.

Asher Corter | Cushing Okla.

I enjoyed seeing and touring the Seaboard Foods Processing Plant. It was interesting to see how all of the employees work together and get their jobs done.

Cade Leonard | Claremore, Okla.

It was really cool getting to interact with the campers and the producers from all over the state. YLC helped me gain a better perspective on the swine industry as a whole.

Cheyenne Britt | Sand Springs, Okla.

My favorite part about Youth Leadership Camp was getting to know my fellow campers from across the state. It was interesting to get another look on the swine industry.

Drew Spradlin | Pourm, Okla.

We got to tour a huge commercial sow farm. I liked seeing how different it was versus a show pig operation.

Gracie Allen | Oologah, Okla.

My favorite part about Youth Leadership camp was getting to see the large sow operation at Robert’s Ranch. I also enjoyed getting to hear other producers’ stories from around the state. 16 |

Halley Hoskins | Sapulpa, Okla.

I really enjoyed every aspect there was about YLC, especially the video interviews. I wish there were a way that I could go and experience it all over again because it was truly life changing.

Kaylee Holt | Sapulpa, Okla.

I was raised on a small family farm, so it was interesting to see the bigger operations, like Robert’s Ranch, and how they were efficiently run.

Krista Carroll | Tishomingo, Okla.

My favorite part about Youth Leadership Camp was getting to listen to the Oklahoma legislators and lobbyists. It was interesting to hear about their large roles and how important they are in the agricultural industry.

Halle Hartman | Sentinel, Okla.

Touring the large-scale sow farm was my favorite part about camp. I liked seeing how they differ from my small sow farm back at home.

Rhett Taylor | Okema Okla.

“I knew the camp was going to be a lot about the commercial swine industry, but I didn’t know how in depth this experience really was. It was truly a life chaning experience that I would do over and over again.”

Tyler Jenkins | Norman, Okla.

My favorite part about Youth Leadership camp was getting to meet the rest of the campers and the industry professionals around the state.

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okPORK host a “what-if” exercise during board planning session

Story and photos by Lindsay Tasos


hat would you do if a case of foot-and-mouth disease broke out at or near your farm? Do you know how fast it would spread or what you would do if it was headed towards you? As a part of the 2017 okPORK board planning session, the okPORK board joined with members of emergency management, veterinarians, hog producers, cattle producers, USDA employees, ODAFF employees and many more participated in a table top exercise to share ideas about how to properly manage an emergency like a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak The table-top exhibit consists of hundreds of toys to simulate a farming and rural town environment, much like most of Oklahoma. The purpose of the exercise is so all parties involved can share ideas and begin to create a plan of action for working together in a crisis. “We make sure when we do these exercises that we focus on the state in which we are teaching,” Patrick Webb, National Pork Board director of swine heath programs, said. “The table-top mimics our cities and farms and we work through the outbreak just like we would in real life.” The state animal health official, production systems, laboratories, county emergency managers and anybody that would play a role at the local level needs to be involved in the exercise in order to know how to keep it contained if it does happn. 18 |

Before the exercise could start, Bruce Spence of Iowa, Cindy Cunningham of National Pork Board and Webb gave short presentations on what to do if this were to actually happen in Oklahoma. The presentations included information about shipping hogs, biosecurity and signs and symptoms. After the presentations were completed, okPORK provided lunch and then the agriculturalists broke into groups that were specific to their job titles. While in their groups they went over what they would do if foot-and-mouth were in the state. okPORK employees Nikki Snider and Lindsay Tasos were a part of the exercise as well. “We need to know what to do in the office if this were to happen,” Snider said. “The exercise gave me the proper training needed if FMD were to happen here in Oklahoma.” Together as one group a mock press conference was held that included the commissioner of agriculture, state and USDA vets as well as members of okPORK and OCA. The intention of the press conference was to show people the kinds of questions that could possibly be asked and how to properly ask them. The end goal of this exercise is to not completely solve the problem but to get a dialogue going between the parties on how to handle emergencies. If you would like to learn more about the table-top exercise, click here.

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Story by Lindsay Tasos


ire is one word that will scare just about anyone. Last March, that word not only put the lives of people in danger but livestock as well. Cathy Vaughan, okPORK board member and safety/ communications coordinator for Smithfield Foods, described the fire as something she never wants to experience again. “I was in North Carolina for work when I got news of the fire starting,” Vaughan said. “The night and morning before, the National Weather Service had said there was a possibility of low humidity and high winds which means possible fires.” Vaughan said they have had some close calls before, so she sent out and alert to the employees about smoke and to be cautious. The afternoon winds picked up to more than 50 miles per hour and shortly before noon there was word of a fire in Beaver County, Okla., that was started by power lines and was headed straight for a Smithfield farm called Plumthicket. “We evacuated the Plumthicket farm as soon as the Beaver County fire started,” Vaughan said. “Then the winds pushed towards the north so we weren’t in the direct line of fire, yet.”

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Soon after the wind shifted, a new fire struck near Laverne, Okla., and the winds pushed the new fire south and Vaughan evacuated all Smithfield Farms in the area. “The only information I could get was from pictures, social media and text messages,” she said. “It was about two in the morning when I found out Plumthicket and a possible boar stud were on fire and that is when I got a plane ticket to fly back to Oklahoma.” Firefighters and resources were trying to save Ashlan and Eaglewood, so firetrucks were just not able to make it over to Plumthicket in time. In a matter of hours Vaughan was back in Oklahoma, but the drive home from the airport is when reality finally set in. “I have never seen anything like it,” she said. “Everything was just gone.” The next morning when Vaughan came into the office she was glad to hear the boar stud wasn’t struck by the fires but was faced with the fact that Plumthicket and the hogs inside of it were gone. “We had a meeting first thing in the morning to figure

Smithfield rebuilds barn after fire.

out what we were going to do,” Vaughan said. “Employee and contractor safety is my main job and I needed to make sure they were all okay.” After dealing with the loss of 3 barns and 4,000 sows, Vaughan and her team wanted to get to work right away and build a new farm in order to keep their operations going. “Even though we were going through such a tragedy, the employees and myself developed a better relationship and understanding of each other,” she said. “There is always a concern with confined animals and what people think, but our employees’ safety is always number one.” Once the fires died down and everyone recovered from the tragic incident the Smithfield crew started brainstorming different ideas about a new Plumthicket farm, some of which included different grounds, firebreaks and sprinklers. Vaughan said even though the grounds were heavily grazed around the farm, the fire was no match for the short grass, but ground maintenance will be the most important when designing the new facilities. Vaughn has also been working close by with a contracting

team to try to eliminate this from happening again. “We believe the wood walkways in the barn were what initially caught on fire so we want to fix that for sure,” Vaughan said. “Gravel courtyards, draining and erosion practices will help too along with the help of controlled burns around fire season.” Employee safety is still Vaughan’s main concern and she said everyone is doing well now and is back to work. “Every employee is still an employee with Smithfield,” she said. “Once Plumthicket is rebuilt they will have the option to come back.” The new barn is in the process of being built and is planned to be up and running in January 2018. “There is just something about this farm,” Vaughan said. “I want it to be as good if not better than it was before so this never happens again.” •

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Nikki’s Story

It’s been a few years since I’ve attended Ag Media Summit and this conference is a great as ever! Its fun and inspiring to spend time with other ag communicators. This year we met in beautiful Snowbird, Utah, and the mountain setting offered breathtaking views. The conference kicked off with a gondola ride to the top of Snowbird’s summit, altitude 11,000 feet, for the famous welcome party. I was able to reconnect with fellow Oklahoma State University alums and meet some new folks (some just new to me) in the industry. My favorite educational session this year was hosted by a blogger from Chicago, Natasha Nicholes and who blogs at, who has toured several ag enterprises. She offered great insight on how to establish authentic relationships with local bloggers and this is something okPORK will be doing very soon. Lindsay and I both attended a session titled “20 Questions You Never Thought to Ask” that gave us insights we can use in the Day in the Life videos, blog posts, magazine and newsletter articles, etc. Several prominent ag writers sat on this panel and their knowledge of how to get interviewees to open up was helpful. An inspirational moment, beyond the spectacular mountain views, was hearing from Amberley Snyder, a professional barrel race who was paralyzed in a car crash but has rehabilitated and races professionally again. As we headed back to the Salt Lake airport and enjoyed the mountain views one last time, my head was full of ideas for our communications and marketing efforts at okPORK and my heart was thankful for the opportunity to attend AMS once again. • 22 |

Lindsay’s Story

Ag Media Summit is something I look forward to every year. This year however was not just a college student but an actual industry professional. I truly enjoy getting the opportunity to speak with other professionals from all over the United States. The sessions offered at AMS gave me new ideas to bring back to the office and allowed me to get caught up on what is the “new” thing in the communications world. My favorite session was about simply asking questions during an interview. It was titled “20 Questions You Never Thought to Ask.” Several reporters and broadcasters went over how to just relax when doing an interview and to make the person just tell the story themselves. Utah is a beautiful state and being able to go to different parts of the country and see what goes on in their agricultural world is nothing short of amazing. Other than attending the sessions, I also had the opportunity to go on a beautiful hike in the mountains and attend the Famous Welcome Party at 11,000 feet above sea level. It was a bit different than good ‘ol Oklahoma! I find it fascinating that so many of us are the same yet so many are different but we all share one thing in common and that is the love for the agricultural industry. With me being so young and so new into my career I have complete confidence not only in myself but my peers that we are going in a positive direction. AMS is a great event that fills you full of new ideas to help better communicate the growing agricultural world we live in. •

Whole Hawg Days I

f you live or have visited Eufaula, Okla., in July and love pork then you must have been at the Whole Hawg Days Celebration on Main Street. Every year on the last weekend in July you’ll see thousands of people gather on main street as the smell of barbequed pork fills the air. The night before the event, teams of amateur barbeque enthusiasts received a smoker box full of none other than pork. They worked their magic with marinades and seasonings and then fired up the smokers to start cooking. Teams compete for bragging rights, cash prizes and pig trophies, but the best part of the event and most likely the favorite part for the teams is feeding everyone on main street. Like last year, okPORK had continued to donate the meat for the cookoff. “Whole Hawg Days is one of the biggest local community events we are involved in each year and I am always amazed at how many people attend the barbeque,” Lloyd Hawkins, okPORK community outreach coordinator said. In addition to the barbeque, there is a land and water poker run by the lake, parade, car show and rodeo. It is truly an event that has something for everyone. •

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Shane Rippe wins FFA Proficiency Award


hane Rippe from Fairview, Okla., didn’t always enjoy working with pigs, but that all changed when he was offered a job with Seaboard Foods. It all started when Seaboard contacted Rippe’s agricultural instructor, Jerrod Lundry. “They needed someone part time and Shane was the first person that came to mind,” Lundry said. “Shane really wanted a job and I told him about the opportunity and he jumped right on board.” Seaboard was flexible with the Rippe’s schedule and he began working 15 hours a week. “I was 16 when I started working for Seaboard and this is now my third summer working for them,” Rippe said. “It has been fun to learn what goes on in a commercial operation.” Some of Rippe’s jobs include feeding sows, walking through farrowing barns and taking care of piglets. Since most high school students did not have jobs like Rippe’s, it only made sense to enter his work in for the FFA Swine Production Placement award. “Since I am his ag teacher I became his supervisor for the project,” Lundry said. “Shane’s project is so unique because it is not every day you see a 16-year-old working on a 10,000 sow operation.” After making the finals with his project it became clear to Rippe that he might actually have a shot at winning. “Most award applicants don’t have extreme hours when working with their projects and I think that is what made me stand out the most,” Rippe said. “I would work 15 hours during the week and then would rack up to 20 hours almost 24 |

every weekend.” Rippe said working two years on such a large operation was a big deal to the judges for his application. After winning the award Lundry is nothing but proud of Rippe and his accomplishments. “He’s a good, hardworking kid,” he said. “The job let him win this award and gave him livestock knowledge he didn’t have before.” Since receiving the award Rippe is now a level three full time employee with Seaboard. His future plans are to be with the company for as long as possible. “I was raised on a farm so I have a passion for working with livestock,” Rippe said. “I may have not grown up around pigs but I enjoy my job and love it more and more every day.” •


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Amelia’s Italian Pork Pita Pockets Prep: 5 min | Cook: 10 min | Serves 4-8 Ingredients

8 Boneless Pork Chops, thin, about two oz. each 2 green bell peppers, each cut into 8 lengthwise strips 2 portabello mushrooms, cut into 8 lengthwise slices 1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon fennel seed 8 pita pocket break halves 4 slices mozzarella cheese, cut in half

Cooking Directions

Heat oven to broil. Coat a large baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange pork chops and vegetables in a single layer on baking pan. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and fennel seed. Brush mixture on both sides of pork. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for about 5-6 minutes, or until pork has internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time and vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from oven; divide pork and vegetables among pita pocket breads. Add 1 slice of cheese to each sandwich. Makes 8 sandwiches

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okPORK PAGES Fall 2017  

The official publication of the Oklahoma Pork Council.