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okPORKPAGES official magazine of the Oklahoma Pork Council |

Volume 22 | Issue 1 | Spring 2018


LasBacon 2018 Oklahoma Pork Congress

Contents Spring 2018

3 | President Speaks 4 | Executive Review 6 |2017 in Review 10| Viva Las Bacon 13 | Excellence Award 17 | Ambassador Award 18 |Outstanding Legislator 19 | Meet Dr. Salak-Johnson 20 | Exploring the Swine Industry 22 | Spreading Cheer

okPORKPAGES Spring 2018 | Volume 22 | Issue 1 BOARD OF DIRECTORS OFFICERS President | Phil Oliphant, El Reno President Elect | Joe Popplewell, Stillwater Vice President | Robbie Woods, Enid BOARD MEMBERS Dottie King, Calvin 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. | Director of Marketing and Promotions Nikki Snider | Communications Specialist Lindsay Henricks | 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, Design and Editing | Lindsay Henricks, Nikki Snider

On the Cover okPORK is preparing for a fun and exciting new addition to this year’s Pork Congress!

Logo by Lindsay Henricks 2|

Stay Connected : search okpork


A Proud Farewell by Phil Oliphant


As seasons change in Oklahoma, I am reminded of my years growing up in Iowa. My family had a farm in northeast Iowa raising Quarter Horses, Longhorn cattle and pigs. A lot of our family traditions evolved from the changing seasons – when to plant, when to harvest, when to breed when to wean, how many hours of sunlight, when the first and last frost might be, and how hot or cold it is going to be each day. My mother kept a precise calendar each year. She knew every birthday of every relative, when every event was and with the help of the Farmer’s Almanac knew when to geld horses and castrate pigs. Calendars keep us organized and remind us of special events. One such event I look forward to each year is the Oklahoma Pork Congress! The 2018 event will be held Friday, February 23, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman, Okla. We have made a number of changes to the program this year including moving the awards program to lunch and adding an entertaining Viva Las Bacon event for Friday evening. Our goal is to create a fun tradition where you can meet and interact with fellow producers while helping to raise money for okPORK non-Checkoff efforts. The Pork Congress is a family tradition for us with great memories of the past and more in the future. A new tradition this year is the okPORK Excellence Award. This is a new annual award to recognize individuals from any sector of pork

production that have an exceptional commitment to doing their best every day. Mark your calendars and come enjoy a day with us. As my term as president of the okPORK board nears its end, I am grateful for this special opportunity and treasure all the friendships made during my term. We are all okPORK and I am proud of what we do for the pork industry. See ya soon! •



We Need You! by Roy Lee Lindsey


As we start the new year, there are lots of exciting things happening at okPORK and we want you to be a part of them. From okPORK Congress to membership renewals to new okPORK publications, we need your help to be successful in our mission to promote pork and our products. Pork Congress is close – We are getting really close to the 2018 Oklahoma Pork Congress. You’ll find a great deal of information about Pork Congress in this issue of okPORK PAGES. I wanted to highlight several items for you. We are changing the format of Pork Congress this year with our awards program moving to lunch and the addition of a fun and entertaining event to close out congress. Our schedule before and after lunch will remain very similar to years past, but we’ll recognize this year’s award recipients at lunch. We introduced a new award this year – Excellence Award. This award is designed to recognize individuals working in Oklahoma’s pork industry who are outstanding in the jobs. These are people who demonstrate excellence every day in what they do. We’ll recognize three Excellence Award winners during our lunch program. I’m especially excited about our educational programs. First, we’ll get to here from Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson about her new role as Temple Grandin Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being and Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Johnson is widely recognized as an expert in swine behavior and how swine respond to changes in their environment. And then we’ll have a consumer panel to wrap up the afternoon. This panel will feature five consumers from the OKC metro area who will share their thoughts about how and why they purchase meat; what labels on meat products mean to them; and how they get information about the meat they purchase. I’ve seen a similar panel in the last year and it was an eye-opening experience for me. During the business meeting we’ll be electing members of the okPORK Board of Directors. We have five seats open for election and only one incumbent who is eligible for re-election so we’ll be selecting at least four new members of our board. Here is your chance to have input to your producer association. And lastly, we’ve created a new event for Friday night – Viva Las Bacon! This is a casino-themed event with the sole purpose of encouraging our members and guests to have fun. We’ll have table games, great food, drinks and prizes you can win. Viva Las Bacon does require a $25 ticket and we’d encourage you to purchase your ticket in advance. You can register for our


educational programs and awards luncheon and purchase your ticket to Viva Las Bacon at The importance of being involved – There is nothing more important to okPORK than meeting the needs and expectations of our members. Your team at okPORK works tirelessly to represent you at the state capitol, in Washington, D.C., with retailers and restaurants in our state and in countless other events. Renewing your membership or choosing to join okPORK for the first time is one way you can help us help you. We need the resources your membership provides. You can find a membership form at Contact from okPORK – We are committed to providing you the latest information about what’s happening in our industry, both in Oklahoma and around the country. There are a couple of different ways we do that. The first is our weekly e-Pork Partner. This is a weekly email with updates from the okPORK office including industry news, membership updates, and updates on legislative issues from the state and nation’s capitols. This is a service available only to okPORK members. If you haven’t been receiving the e-Pork Partner and you’ve paid your membership, please give us a call at 405-232-3781 and we’ll get you added to the list. If you haven’t paid your membership, please do so and we’ll add you automatically to our list. We’re also adding a new quarterly emailed newsletter. This will allow us to get short feature stories about our activities out to you in a timely fashion but won’t have all the costs associated with a quarterly magazine. This publication will be available to anyone who requests to be on the mailing list. And you can always find us by searching okPORK on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Just search for okPORK and you’ll find us.•

Camp ad June 17-22, 2018 Youth



New Experiences | New Friends | Great Food | One Amazing Week! Experience the Pork Industry from Farm-to-Fork | Network with Pork Industry Professionals |5






LasBacon 2018 Oklahoma Pork Congress

Friday, June 29, 2018

Tentative Agenda

Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center 2501 Conference Dr, Norman, OK 73069

9 a.m.


9:30 a.m.

NPB Update, Craig Morris

10:15 a.m.

NPPC Update, Cody McKinley

11:15 a.m.

Dr. Janeen Johnson


Awards Luncheon

2:00 p.m.

okPORK Update from Roy Lee Lindsey, Executive Director

2:30 p.m.

Legislative Update, James McSpadden (and possible members of OK House & Senate)

3:30 p.m.

Annual Meeting

4:30 p.m.

Consumer Perceptions of Agriculture

6 p.m.

Viva Las Bacon (This is a new event will require a $25 ticket to enter. To learn more go to page 12.)

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Auction Items Needed! Calling all those with a dab hand for shopping! okPORK plans to hold the annual silent auction during the 2018 Oklahoma Pork Congress. The auctions raise non-Checkoff funds for okPORK. The funds help us support legislators and fund activities that are outside the Pork Checkoff scope of work. The more money raised during the auctions – the more impact okPORK can have in our community! Donations are needed of all kinds! Some ideas of past donations are: • Hunting trips and supplies • OSU and OU memorabilia or tickets • Tickets to other local events • Restaurant gift cards • Home décor and crafts • Farm Supplies • Anything “pig” related • Jewelry In our continued effort to improve the auction, we would like to hear from YOU! We want to know what items you would be interested in purchasing. If you have items to donate or a suggestion of an item that would sell well, contact Roy Lee Lindsey, or 405-232-3781. •

Important Notice! To attend the Viva Las Bacon portion of congress you must obtain a ticket to enter!

Tickets are $25 Purchase Online: Purchase Via Phone: 405-232-3781 You will not want to miss this fun, casino themed night, full of prizes, food and much more!

Public Notice by Oklahoma Pork Council And the National Pork Board The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2019 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate Body will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 23, 2018, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Pork Congress and Annual Meeting which will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Norman, Okla. All Oklahoma pork producers are invited to attend. Any producer age 18 or older who is a resident of Oklahoma and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a

delegate candidate and/or participate in the election. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted. Nominations will be accepted from the floor. For more information, contact the Oklahoma Pork Council. Telephone: 888-SAY-PORK (729-7675) or 405-232-3781. •

New okPORK Board Members Needed At the okPORK Annual Meeting, the membership of okPORK will elect five members to the okPORK Board of Directors. The west district seat that is open is held by Keith Reiner. Reiner is not eligible for reelection. The first open at-large seat is held by Joe Popplewell who is eligible for reelection. The second at-large seat is held by Sara Linneen who is not eligible for reelection. This will be a one year term only. The third at-large seat is held by Paris Robinson who is not eligible for reelection, she has left the swine field. This will be a one year term only. The open east district seat is held by Chris Wallis and he is not eligible for reelection.

The west district is composed of counties west of I-35 and includes those counties which contain I-35. The east district includes all counties east of I-35. Any paid okPORK member in Oklahoma can run for and vote for the at-large board seat. If you are interested in running for the Board of Directors please submit a photo and bio to okPORK by February 1st. We will publish your bio for the Pork Congress participants to review before the election. We will also take nominations from the floor during the meeting and candidates will have the opportunity to address the okPORK membership prior to the election. • | 11

Go All In!

May we now present . . . Viva Las Bacon! The format of Oklahoma Pork Congress hasn’t changed in many, many years. But let us assure you that the evening of Friday, June 29, will be quite different this year as we are debuting a brand-new event called Viva Las Bacon. A casino night, food, drinks, silent auction, door prizes, live DJ spinning great tunes – yes, Viva Las Bacon will have it all. Everyone attending will receive $2,000 in poker chips to “spend” playing blackjack, craps, Texas hold’em, and roulette. At the end of the night you can “cash in” your winnings for raffle tickets. You can place your raffle tickets into the drawings for one, or many, of the following prizes: • Bacon of the Month Club Membership • Beer Cooler Stocked with Beer & okPORK Tumblers • Kamado Joe Smoker • Cabela’s Gift Card • Extreme Sandbox Package • Kohler Suitcase Generator And to add even more excitement to the evening, everyone who attends will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize $1,000 cash. Another part of this new event is that we will be charging admission to cover a portion of the evening’s costs. Everyone who attends will need to purchase a $25

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ticket. You can purchase tickets online at okporkcongress2018. Or you can call the okPORK office (405.232.2781) to purchase a ticket by phone. We know that paying for an event at okPORK Congress is not something you may be used to. But we need to be able to cover a portion of the evening’s costs so we can make more money for our nonCheckoff activities. We promise you a fun evening that will be well worth your investment. So, tell your family, tell your coworkers, tell your cousin Ed – this is going to be a great night and we don’t want anyone to miss the fun!


LasBacon 2018 Oklahoma Pork Congress


s the okPORK board and staff approached selecting awards winners for 2018, they found themselves in an interesting situation. For many years, okPORK has recognized a Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Award winner annually. In 2017, we only recognized a Distinguished Service Award winner because no one could identify an appropriate Hall of Fame Award winner. Our foundational pillars, those men and women who built the Oklahoma swine industry, have been recognized already. And the next wave of pork producers that worked for and learned from those industry leaders are still actively involved in production and have many years of service to the industry ahead of them. So, the okPORK board has decided to push pause on the Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service

awards for a short time. And this year we are establishing a new award that we hope will continue for many years. The okPORK Excellence Award is designed to recognize those pork producers who have made the daily work of hog farming more than just a job – it is their profession and they go above and beyond every day to do their best work. We want this award to cover any sector of hog production and we will recognize individuals working at any level of management. It is our plan to recognize one to four individuals each year, depending on the number of applications submitted. So, it is with great pride and excitement that we present the first okPORK Excellence Award winners. | 13

A Vast


obert Teel, a lifelong Texhoma resident, began his journey in the swine industry back in 1996. He began his role as a technician with Vall, Inc. and now works for Prestage Farms of Oklahoma, LLC. Today, Teel works as a sow production manager and is responsible for more than 20,000 sows, a gilt development unit and a boar stud. “I believe I started at the very bottom,” Teel said. “But with hard work and dedication I worked my way up in the ranks and am proud of where I stand in my position today.” Being responsible for a large operation, Teel has his hands full 24/7. He makes sure everything is running smoothly, makes sure employees are doing their jobs correctly and of course takes care of the health and wellbeing of the pigs. “The swine industry has been a part of my life for many years,” he said. “Agriculture in general has its ups and downs, but in the end, you are helping feed a growing population and that is what really matters.” Greg Stephens, general manager at Prestage Farms of Oklahoma, LLC., believes Teel goes above and beyond in every aspect of his job. “Robert’s production numbers indicate his effectiveness and knowledge of the pork industry,” Stephens said. “His leadership is also evidenced by the respect and performance he gets from those he supervises. I believe he is very deserving of the okPORK Excellence Award.” Since Prestage Farms acquired the Texhoma operation back in 2011, Teel has proven himself dedicated and innovative in his role as sow production manager. His efforts have contributed a 25 percent improvement in sow production, Stephens said. Teel is not one to rank himself as “excellent” but is excited to be receiving such an award for his dedication to the swine industry. 14 |

“I am humbled to be nominated and honored to actually be receiving the award,” he said. “I don’t see myself as one who stands out in a crowd, but apparently someone did.” Besides working for Prestage Farms, Teel and his wife, Rina, have two sons, Xavier and Kage. He and his family are active members of the St. Peters Catholic Church in Guymon. Teel also dedicates his time to Texhoma High School where he serves as a booster member and participates in youth sports events with his sons. okPORK is pleased to present Robert Teel with the 2018 Excellence Award in honor of his dedication and contribution to the swine industry. “The agricultural industry isn’t always going to be good, there is always a turn in the road but that is what makes it so much fun,” he said. •



uan Ovalle, Sr., was born in a small village in the highlands of Guatemala. He began working at the young age of 10 where he sold potatoes at the local market. On January 12, 1993, Ovalle left Guatemala and he and his family ventured to the United States of America. “It was hard to leave our native country, but I knew it was best for my family because of the 30 year Guatemalan Civil War,” Ovalle said. He began his journey in the swine industry in 1996 at Murphy Brown Farms and was hired as a breeding herd technician where his job duties included installing feeding bins and different systems. After almost 12 years, Ovalle and his family packed up again and moved to Laverne, Okla., where he accepted the job as production trainee for Murphy Brown Farms, now known as Smithfield. Today Ovalle is the production technical trainer with a specialization in swine breeding. His responsibilities include certifying all six-month employees and breeding employees. “I really love working with both people and pigs,” Ovalle said. “It is always fun to see the positive results of something you worked so hard for and that is what I love so much about this industry.” David Sauceda, production support service manager at Smithfield, said Ovalle is a prime candidate for such a distinguishable award. “Juan plays an influential role in our business, both from sow/piglet and employee standpoints,” Sauceda said. “Smithfield couldn’t have a more experienced and welcoming trainer than Juan. Today, all certified breeders in our Oklahoma system have been trained by him.” Ovalle was honored and blessed to hear about his peers nominating him for the okPORK Excellence Award. “I was in shock and disbelief when I heard the news,” he said. “Coming from a third-world country and still being


nominated really put a cherry on top of my career in this life changing industry.” Ovalle is also involved in the community of Laverne. Besides being an active board member at Trinity Faith Fellowship, he and his wife, Lucrecia, own a small grocery store where they provide groceries and services to the growing Hispanic population such as translating, assisting at doctors’ appointments and to help bridge the cultural gap for their community. Ovalle also emjoys spending quality time with his four grandchildren. He also works alongside two of his three sons, Juan Jr., and Jeff, at Smithfield. His oldest son, Alex, works for Energy Transfer in Beaver County. “We didn’t have much when we first came here, but I wouldn’t trade my journey or my family for the world,” Ovalle said. “I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to work in something I enjoy and love to do.”•

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am DeHass, an Oklahoma native and Oklahoma State University alumni has been a part of the swine industry for more than 20 years. He started off as a production technician for PIC back in 1995 when PIC and HANOR were a joint company. Today DeHass works for The Maschhoffs and has been the general manager- great south region for the last two years. His past roles for The Maschhoffs include farm manager, service manager and production director over all commercial sows. As general manager, DeHass is responsible for one of the The Maschhoffs’ four commercial regions. He manages a 50,000 sow farrow-to-finish business unit which encompasses pigs in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Georgia. Ian Brooke, director of production at The Maschhoffs, describes DeHass as contributor to the company and believes he is very deserving of the okPORK Excellence Award. “Sam has the unique ability to run a 50,000 sow business as a servant leader,” Brooke said. “He makes everyone around him a better leader. He has gone above and beyond his entire career and this has led him to currently manage an entire business unit at The Maschhoffs.” DeHass also feels honored to be receiving such an award. “I feel nothing but blessed to have my name put in the hat,” DeHass said. “I don’t normally consider myself a person who normally stands out in a crowd, but it is very exciting to win something like this.” Feeding the world is what really matters and that is what I love most about my job, he said. When DeHass first got into the pig business he wanted to make a difference and that is exactly what he did. “This industry gives you the ability to learn and the opportunity to grow,” he said. “I started as a technician and am now a manager. If you want to help feed people and 16 |

provide them with protein they need then this industry is right for you.” Besides working with pigs, DeHass and his wife are actively involved in their local church in Hinton, Okla., and he also coaches his children’s sports teams. okPORK is honored to present Sam DeHass with the 2018 Excellence Award thanks to his love and passion for not only the swine industry, but the people who help make it one of the best. “This job might not always smell great, but it is worth in the end,” DeHass said. •

Darren Wheeler


arren Wheeler, a long-time pork supporter and owner of Wheeler Meat Market in Oklahoma City, Okla., has been selected to receive the 2018 Ambassador Award for his extensive service with okPORK. Wheeler said the meat business has and always will be a family affair. “My family has actually been in the meat and grocery business since 1907,” Wheeler said. “About 25 years ago, my dad wanted to open a smaller store and asked me if I wanted to go into business with him, so here I am.” Besides focusing just on meat sales, production and promotion, Wheeler has also been a sponsor at many different okPORK events including the okPORK Open Golf Tournament, Bacon and Bourbon and Pork and Cork. “We really enjoy helping out the Oklahoma Pork Council and it lets us promote the consumption of pork at our store, too,” he said.

okPORK considers Wheeler a member of the “family,” and believes he deserves this award. “Darren has gone above and beyond for okPORK,” Lloyd Hawkins, okPORK outreach specialist said. “Whenever we need help or a sponsor for an event, he is always there to lend a helping hand.” Wheeler was quick to express his appreciation to okPORK when he heard about receiving the 2018 Ambassador Award. “Anytime you are recognized as an individual who does something for an industry is something special,” Wheeler said. “I really enjoy being able to tell story and be an ambassador for the pork industry to make a difference for others.” okPORK is proud to present Darren Wheeler with the 2018 Ambassador award, for not only his dedication to the swine industry, but for his lifelong support to agriculture.•

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2018 Outstanding Legislator Senator Eddie Fields During the work on last year’s warthog bill, it became clear to okPORK that Senator Eddie Fields would be a perfect recipient for the 2018 Outstanding Legislator Award. “It was great to work with the Oklahoma Pork Council,” Senator Fields said. “We established a great working relationship during the warthog bill and made sure they were not going to be imported into the state,” Agriculture has been a part of Senator Fields life for as long as he can remember. A thirdgeneration Osage County cattle rancher and businessman, Senator Fields is president of Fields Ranch, Inc., a family ranch established in 1952. He has served on the Osage County Farm Bureau Board, as president of the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association and director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. During his tenure in the House, he served on the Agriculture, Transportation, Wildlife, and Education Appropriation Committees. In 2011, he was named Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural

Resources and Regulatory Services. In 2014 and 2016, he was selected Assistant Majority Floor Leader.. For 2017-2018, he will serve as Vice Chairman of Appropriations, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services, and Chairman of Rules. He also serves on the Agriculture and Wildlife, Education, and Energy committees. Fields is currently running for Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor. “It is humbling to be recognized by okPORK to receive such an award,” Fields said. “I grew up loving agriculture and it has always been fun helping agricultural groups, but it is even more exciting when you get recognized for it.” Without Senator Fields’ hard work and dedication to the agricultural industry as a whole, the warthog bill could have been put into play and would have effected swine producers statewide. okPORK is honored to present Senator Fields with the 2018 Outstanding Legislator Award. •

Keynote Highlight An Inside Look at How Consumers Make Food Purchasing Decisions Why consumers do (or do not) buy the pork chops you’re raising may be a confusing issue to you. You know what goes on at your farm and how you treat your animals, the environment and your employees. But consumers sometimes do not understand the nuances of your day to day operation. And, how much do they really care? You’ll have the opportunity to explore those issues at the keynote session of Oklahoma Pork Congress 2018. A panel of randomly selected consumers will be on hand to share what shapes their food buying decisions. Allyson Perry from the Center for Food Integrity will lead the discussion with five consumer panelists. Perry will ask them questions about animal well-being, meat labeling, environmental impact and antibiotics / hormones. “Consumers, regardless of geographical location, are concerned and confused about where their food comes from and how it is produced” Perry said. “They fear what they don’t

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know and gather information from less than reliable sources. Consumer panels have proven beneficial for identifying exactly what they want to know.” This will be a time for you to listen and learn from these consumers – not an opportunity to change their minds or question their outlooks. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions to the panelists. But we do ask that you be respectful of the consumers that are giving their time to share their views. “I’ve listened to one of these panel discussions before and was truly captivated by what the panelists had to say,” said Nikki Snider, okPORK director of marketing and promotions. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to hear from local consumers and know this will help me focus okPORK’s marketing messages for the year. I hope you as producers will take part in this session and learn with me.” •

Keynote Highlight Meet Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson


t the Oklahoma Pork Congress, you will have the unique and exciting opportunity to meet the newest member of the Oklahoma State University Animal Science faculty – Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson. She will share with Oklahoma pork producers her research in animal well-being and we know you’ll be very interested in her approach to research and how production decisions should be made. Dr. Johnson comes to OSU from the University of Illinois where she has worked for almost 20 years researching stress and environmental physiology on sows. She began her work at OSU in January 2018, and holds the Temple Grandin Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being and the title of Associate Professor. Dr. Johnson believes in looking at the many variables that effect a sow when considering housing and how those will affect a sow and ultimately her offspring. Dr. Johnson was raised in Pittsburg, Pa., and did not grow up on a farm. But she has lots of experience in the pork industry – mainly, she says, “serving as a scientist providing them with animal well-being rather than production information.” To help you get to know Dr. Johnson and her research, we bring you the following Q&A. We know she’ll have much more to share with you at Pork Congress, so be sure not to miss her talk.

Q&A with Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson

What specific areas of animal welfare research are you involved in? My research will focus mostly in the swine industry. I have 15 years’ experience researching sow housing, specifically how the housing environment and management practices have immediate and long-term consequences on animal wellbeing, performance, productivity, health and behavior. It’s my conclusion that the gestation stall is NOT bad, but I do believe it needs to be bigger because we have bigger sows than when the housing was first installed. I will focus on how we can minimize the housing effect to be the least stressful on sows because stress in a sow will have repercussions on her offspring. I also do dietary research looking at how satiety of the sow has consequences on her offspring. I am a stress physiologist by training so I’m interested in researching anything that causes stress on the sow. Maternal – fetal interaction is also a big area of interest to me. Finally, I will look at how can we have more robust animals if we can’t use feed additives that include antibiotics. What ways to do hope to work with the Oklahoma pork industry in your research? The challenges of raising pigs are the same in Oklahoma as they were in Illinois. Most of my studies have been in conjunction with the National Pork Board so I’ve been working

on national problems and I will continue that research. One of our biggest challenges is having that most robust pig we can to be competitive. I will use my research to see if there are production practices that need to change to achieve that overarching goal. I fear large producers risk making changes to housing simply because of customers’ demands. I feel this will put the wean to finish sector at risk because sows will not be as productive. Has there been a finding in your research about animal stress that has surprised you or was unexpected? It’s been very cool that many of my thoughts about housing have been validated by science. For example, I had the perception that the gestation crate was too small. I now have data where it is apparent that sows are longer, leaner but crates has not changed to fit them. My research has also shown that the sow has same behavior in the stall as in group housing - she bites bars in group housing the same as in a stall. I’ve found that if you increase the size of stall you see better litter sizes and less lesions in the sows. I studied social rank of sows in group housing using long and short feeding stalls with a couple different high fiber diets and got surprising results. My perception was that the submissive sows would be at greatest risk. It turns out that most often the dominant sow is at greater risk. A pen with short feeding stalls allows dominant sows to steal feed by moving submissive sows away. With long feeding stalls, the dominant sow can’t move a submissive sow away and get to food. In turn, she uses too much energy to trying to assert her place. Ultimately the aggressive sows in group housing with long stalls lost more piglets. The type of fiber fed in this study also affected sow behaviors. I feel you really have to look at a combination of factors in researching housing. I don’t just look at group housing versus stalls. I look at ALL the factors to come up with best housing system. What are you most looking forward to about living in Oklahoma? I’m excited that a great deal of my time can go toward research and not just teaching the basics of animal agriculture. Many of University of Illinois students were from Chicago suburbs and didn’t have a farm background or know the basics about where their food comes from. I feel that students at OSU come into class with a good understanding of animal agriculture and that animal well-being is an important issue for the industry.• | 19

Tishamingo High School students has desire to learn about commercial swine.

by Lindsay Henricks


ou can learn new things at any time in your life if you are willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you. This accurately describes Krista Carroll, a 4-H and FFA member from Tishamingo who desperately wanted to learn more about the agricultural industry, specifically swine. “I mainly showed cattle,” Carroll said. “I showed a few hogs but never really knew a whole lot about the commercial swine industry.” Determined, she set a goal for herself to get involved. “I actually heard about the Oklahoma Pork Council from my agricultural teacher at my high school,” Carroll said. “Another student was thinking about applying for a pork camp. I was interested but wasn’t sure if I had enough pig experience to get in.” It was at a Farm Her GROW conference where she had the opportunity to speak with some of the okPORK staff who encouraged her to apply for the okPORK Youth Leadership Camp that summer. “After learning more about YLC I did some online research and became even more interested,” Carroll said. “I really wanted to gain a true farm to fork experience.” And that is just what she did.

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After interviewing for YLC, okPORK staff picked Carroll as one of the top candidates for this year’s camp. “Krista shined and her enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge were contagious,” Nikki Snider, okPORK director of marketing and promotions, said. “You could just tell she was interested in what camp was about.” While at YLC, Carroll, along with 11 other high school students who were accepted into the camp, explored the commercial side of the swine industry. From a farrowing operation all the way to a processing plant. “It opened doors to things I had never seen before,” she said. “I got to meet industry professionals and even connect with an employee on the National Pork Board.” Besides touring hog operations, Carroll and her camp mates had the chance to evaluate and process their own hogs, learn about what is going on in the swine industry from a professional and legislative standpoint, practice their on TV interview skills and of course have fun. “Besides having a great time, my favorite part about YLC was the interviews,” Carroll said. “It made me feel more comfortable talking about agricultural issues that are always going on in the industry. I love how I can now talk about different things within the swine industry because I have

literally seen it first-hand.” As YLC came to an end, Carroll knew she now had the chance to truly make a difference. “Before I attended YLC I wanted everything to do with agricultural law,” she said. “But now I am really looking into agricultural communications because I love talking and promoting the agricultural industry.” Carroll now shares her YLC story with kids around her school and the state. okPORK is proud to have her as a part of their YLC alumni family. “She went above and beyond others during camp and proved herself a true leader,” Snider said. “She was an influence to her fellow campers and will be for future camp candidates.” Even though Carroll wasn’t a total show pig kid, she still had the desire to learn more about the industry. “Thanks to okPORK I was able to put my whole heart into the swine industry and learn so much,” she said. “YLC opened up so many doors for me and now my future plans

actually have the words pork in them.” After high school Carroll plans on attending Oklahoma State University where she plans to major in agricultural communications or agricultural economics with an emphasis in law. She intends on applying for internships with the NPB and of course okPORK. “YLC was an experience unlike any other,” she said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.” If you know of a high school student who is interested in learning more or even applying to okPORK Youth Leadership Camp please visit or call 405-232-3781 to learn more. •

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okPORK continues donation to Regional Food Bank.


n December 8th the Oklahoma Pork Council donated $10,000 to the Regional Food Bank of to provide pork sticks for its Food for Kids Backpack Program bringing the total donation amount for this important program to more than $132,000. This program provides chronically hungry children with backpacks filled with non-perishable, nutritious, shelf-stable food to sustain them over weekends and school holidays. This donation from okPORK allowed the Regional Food Bank to purchase more than 28,000 pork sticks. This program is based on successful collaborative relationships. The Regional Food Bank works with multiple organizations to solicit and steward animal donations that are harvested for the sticks. Thanks to a challenge from, the Cresap Family Foundation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, every gift or donation received from Nov. 15 through Jan 15 was matched dollar for dollar. Making okPORK’s $10,000 donation effectively equal $20,000 and have double the impact. “Feeding the world, especially hungry Oklahomans, is important to Oklahoma pig farmers, especially around the holidays,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, okPORK executive director.

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“Which is why we enjoy giving such a large donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. We know the money along with the matching funds will help feed hungry kids all around the state.” Last year, more than 1 million protein sticks were generated through these partnerships. Oklahoma is consistently one of the hungriest states in the nation. Food is the most essential school supply, yet one in four children in Oklahoma has inconsistent access to food. That’s why okPORK’s donation was so important. “We are so grateful for the Oklahoma Pork Council’s support, which ensures children have enough to eat through Beef for Backpacks and Pork for Packs Program,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. “Working together, we are providing chronically hungry children in the state with an important Oklahoma-grown protein source.” Besides donating the $10,000 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, okPORK board members volunteered their time to help pack the food backpacks that would be sent to elementary schools. They packed more than 1,900 backpacks, which would provide more than 4,900 meals for hungry kids. •

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901 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 380 Oklahoma City, OK 73104-3206

Stay Connected : search okpork

Tacos De Carnitas Prep: 20 min | Cook: 20 min | Serves: 4


2 pounds boneless blade pork roast (cut into 4x4x2-inch pieces) 4 cups lard 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 1/4 cup orange juice 1/4 onions (roughly chopped) 2 cloves garlic 2 bay leaves 6 tablespoons vegetable oil (or other neutral-flavored oil) 6 chile de arbol 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts 1 tablespoon honey 2 teaspoons lemon juice (or more to taste) 1 1/4 cups savoy cabbage (shredded) salt (to taste) 2 tablespoons tomatillos (diced) 1 tablespoon red onion (diced) 1 teaspoon cilantro (finely chopped) salt (to taste)

Cooking Directions

In a braising pan or skillet just large enough to hold the meat over medium heat, combine carnitas ingredients, stirring occasionally until the lard melts. Add pork (the liquid should cover the meat) and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until the pork is tender. Mix in additional ingredients and cook until tender. Let set to room temperature before eating. Serve with flour or corn tortillas.

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Profile for okPORK

okPORK PAGES Spring 2018  

The official publication of the Oklahoma Pork Council

okPORK PAGES Spring 2018  

The official publication of the Oklahoma Pork Council

Profile for okpork