Award Winners » okPORK Hall of Fame


photo of Butch Young

Butch Young

2016

Butch Young has a smile on his lips and a story on his tongue each time you meet him. If you listen to some of those stories you can learn the history of the pork industry in Oklahoma. He will be inducted as the 2016 okPORK Hall of Fame recipient during the 57th Oklahoma Pork Congress on Friday, Feb. 26.

Young worked hard as an auctioneer. He donated his time to help junior livestock breeders and showmen. He met young people all over the country and recruited the best ones he could find to Oklahoma State. He could make an audience laugh and he could use his words to touch an entire crowd. The dusty sale barns were where his stage could be found but it was a stage nonetheless.

“He was always working for the breeder,” Kim Brock, okPORK Hall of Fame member said. “His knowledge of the industry is very important, but it was his wit, his personality, his entertaining value as an auctioneer that I always thought made him the very best.”

Young is the kind of man who will be thanking God for the people in his life one minute and chuckling to himself as he tells you about being drafted the next. His dedication to farming, education and agriculture as well as his habit of encouraging people to become a part of the industry he loved was only highlighted by his warm demeanor and wit.

He has retired now, but there is no doubt it is Young’s turn to be inducted into the okPORK Hall of Fame and when he does many stories will be shared. The awards banquet will be the highlight of the evening.

 “I’ve known Butch Young since the mid-60s,” okPORK member Rick Maloney said. “I think without question if you were looking for that auctioneer who could bring you the most value to a set of animals Butch Young is the name that would come to the forefront rather quickly and he was sought after from breeders from all across this country.”

photo of Betty Baker

Betty Baker

2015

Betty Baker was the first female to be elected to the okPORK Board of Directors and ultimately the first woman to serve as an officer,” said okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. “As I was learning what to do as a new association executive – how to manage the budget and how to do those things – Betty had a very calming effect on the Board.”

One might believe for these reasons alone Betty Baker should be inducted into the Oklahoma Pork Council Hall of Fame. She was inducted – posthumously – as the 2015 okPORK Hall of Fame inductee, but for so many more reasons than simply being the first woman to be a part of the Board of Directors.

“She was a great ambassador and a great leader for the industry at a time when it really needed leadership and it needed a kind of persona,” okPORK member Rick Maloney said. “She really believed in small business and the importance of small business in the community. She wasn’t just a person who talked about things – she DID things and was engaged in the community.”

Another shining example of Betty’s dedication to the pork industry was apparent in the way she took care of the natural resources in her care. She was recognized as both an Oklahoma and National Environmental Steward.

“She thought stewardship was an everyday thing,” Maloney said. “It was how you should run your business – being a good steward of the land and taking care of the environment as well as taking care of your people and taking care of your animals.”

Betty chose to serve as the face of the pork industry in multiple ways throughout her time raising pigs. Perhaps the obvious way she served in this role was when she agreed to do commercials for okPORK to run on television and in print ads across the state.

“Those commercials were important to her showing the fact that this was a growing industry, this was a good industry – it creates jobs,” Brian Baker, Betty’s husband, said. “She was a believer in letting the world know that the pork industry was here to stay and it was doing good things.”

Betty continues to inspire people to work harder to be stewards of the land, pillars in the community and spokespeople for the industry. Brian says that if she were here today and receiving this award herself that she would be happy and excited. He shed more light on the topic when he said beyond the well-deserved recognition for her work and achievements, in the end it would help to elevate the entire industry.

 “She was a representative for the industry everywhere and was a tremendous example for all of us about how to represent yourself professionally, how to represent your business, your industry and no one did that better than Betty did,” Lindsey said.

photo of Chuck & Wathina Luthi

Chuck & Wathina Luthi

2014

Stepping into someone else’s shoes can be the beginning of a trip anywhere. Stepping into Chuck and Wathina Luthi’s shoes is a trip going everywhere. There is a minimal amount of area in the Oklahoma pork industry their shoes haven’t traveled. It is with great honor that okPORK announced Chuck and Wathina as the 2014 okPORK Hall of Fame inductees.

Chuck and Wathina’s contribution to the pork industry in Oklahoma began before they met, even before they were born. The two met in college, but before then both of their families had been involved in raising pigs. When the young couple moved to Woodward and Chuck took a job working in town, Wathina needed something to keep her busy at home.

“I told him he needed to find something to keep me busy or I was going to get a job in town,” Wathina said. “So we got two pigs – and we were excited. We got two sows and started there.”

As time went on the Luthi’s operation grew. They bought an old granary, a chicken house and several other buildings and converted them when they began to expand. More and more work was needed to keep the farm running.

Soon the industry began to change. The  farrow-to-finish operation they had run for the last several years was no longer working. At that point they began to pursue a contract with a larger company and found that opportunity with Murphy Farms.

“In the early 1990s, south of Woodward, we were a 125 head farrow-to-finish operation,” Wathina said. “We ground our own feed, marketed the animals and everything. After contracting with Murphy we built the 3,650 head sow unit. It was farrow-to-wean with on-site guilt replacement.”

The Luthi’s farm has held contracts with several companies throughout the years but now they contract with The Maschhoffs. Their farm is slightly larger and they now have a 4,900 head sow farm. Their weaned baby pigs mostly travel north to Iowa to grow to market size.

Both Chuck and Wathina have been active off the farm as well. No matter whether serving on committes and boards or talking with kids and neighbors they not only volunteer but go above and beyond to accomplish what is needed.

It is an honor and a pleasure for okPORK to be able to show respect to a couple who has been such a large influence to the pork industry by inducting them as the newest members of the okPORK Hall of Fame.

“To say this is an honor would really be short-selling it,” Chuck said. “It goes beyond being an honor and I just really appreciate it. I am humbled that Wathina and I are even mentioned in the same breath as the kind of guys who have been inducted before us.”

photo of Phil Richardson

Phil Richardson

2013

Phil Richardson’s roots run deep in agriculture. His family’s farm in Grady County featured wheat, sorghum, dairy cows, and swine. While his father focused on the crop production side of the farm, Phil and his brother, David, worked with the livestock.

After graduating from Pocasset High School, Phil attended Southwestern State College in Weatherford before deciding to become a veterinarian and transferring to Oklahoma State University. After graduating from the OSU School of Veterinary Medicine, Phil joined the US Army and served in the Veterinary Corp for three years, in Vietnam and in Oklahoma. His responsibilities included food inspections as well as veterinary care.

Phil left the Army to open his own veterinary clinic in Tuttle, but after five years, he decided to rejoin his brother in their family farm operations.  By the late 1980s, Phil and David had a 200 head sow, farrow to finish operation that sold market hogs to one of the many processors in the Oklahoma City area.

The mid-1990s brought new opportunities to Oklahoma through large swine production companies offering local families the chance to raise swine on a contract basis. Recognizing the need to make changes in their production system, Phil and David entered contract production and built a pair of 2,400 head sow farms in Grady County.

His commitment to representing agriculture and our industry continued to grow and led Phil to run for and ultimately be elected to four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. As a member of the House, Phil served as chairman of the Environment and Wildlife Committee and the Agriculture and Environment Committee. His knowledge of modern hog production proved an invaluable resource for other legislators when issues related to hog farms came before the legislature.

Richardson always believed in the importance of state and national associations. From involvement in starting Oklahoma’s pork Checkoff program and the Oklahoma Pork Commission in the 1970s, to the national check-off program in the 1980s, to serving on the Board of Directors and as President of the Oklahoma Pork Council, Phil gave his time, leadership, and knowledge to Oklahoma’s pork industry.

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Dr. Phil Richardson into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Rich & Eddie Robinson

Rich & Eddie Robinson

2012

When Richard and Eddie Robinson were children, they were best friends who did everything and went everywhere together. So when an opportunity came to leave their agribusiness enterprises in California and come to Oklahoma to begin raising pigs, it was a natural decision to start this adventure together.

In 1993, Rich and Eddie learned of an opportunity to raise pigs under contract with Tyson Foods’ Pork Group. They called The Pork Group and discussed the growth of the pork industry in Oklahoma and decided this was a golden opportunity for them. After being accepted as contract producers, Rich and Eddie came to Oklahoma to buy the property that would become home to Robinson Family Farms, a 2,500 head sow farm near Holdenville.

Before they could even begin construction of the Robinson Farm, they ran into a major delay due to a moratorium on construction of new farms in Oklahoma. This delay lasted until 1998. Eddie came to Oklahoma and began working in the pork industry even before they began construction on their farm. Rich followed in early 1999 and the brothers worked together on the construction and start up of Robinson Family Farms.

By 2001, Rich and Eddie had decided they should expand their operation to include an additional farm. This desire for growth has continued throughout their time in Oklahoma as they evolved into Robinson Brothers Pork with 22,000 sows on 12 different farms. In addition to the remarkable growth of Robinson Brothers Hog Farms, Rich and Eddie helped recruit several families that relocated from California to Oklahoma to start hog farms of their own.

Giving back to their industry and their communities is very important to Rich and Eddie. They have been members of the Oklahoma Pork Council since arriving in the state. Their partnership allowed Rich to serve from 2005-2011 on the okPORK Board of Directors and to serve as president of okPORK in 2008. They are major supporters of the public schools and CareerTech systems near their farms through donations of money and their time. In the development of the modern Oklahoma Pork Industry, few people have played as large a role as Rich and Eddie Robinson. It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Richard and Eddie Robinson into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Rod Brenneman

Rod Brenneman

2011

Rod Brenneman began his career at Seaboard Corporation in 1989. He has served the company in various financial management capacities, including director of tax and business development.  He has also been involved in working on many of the company’s acquisitions and joint ventures.  In 1994, Rod was named vice president – finance and administration of Seaboard Foods, and was instrumental in building this company from its start up to becoming one of the top hog production and pork processing companies in the United States. In 1996, he was named senior vice president, live production for Seaboard Foods where he was in charge of all of the live production operations for the company. Rod was named to his current position as president and chief executive officer of Seaboard Foods in 2001. 

Rod has been instrumental in developing Seaboard Foods vertically integrated pork production and processing operations. He is committed to continuous improvement within the company. He leads by example through his strong work ethic and commitment to and care for the employees and animals. Rod also demonstrates a commitment to the communities near Seaboard Food’s production facilities and encourages his employees to be active in their communities. He was the driver of Seaboard Foods contribution to the Oklahoma State University Swine Farm  

Rod has had a great influence on Oklahoma’s pork industry. He was instrumental in the development of Seaboard Foods pork operations in Oklahoma with land acquisitions and company expansion. Rod is also supportive of and has provided great leadership and vision for OPC. He served on the search committee for a new OPC executive director in 1999.

Rod leads Seaboard Foods commitment to environmental stewardship in all their production practices. Their Wakefield production site near Turpin, Okla., was given the Oklahoma and National Environmental Steward Awards in 2007.

Rod’s previous experience includes several years with Arthur Andersen. He is a CPA and graduated from Wichita State University. 

Rod resides in Overland Park, Kan., with his wife Shelley. They have two children, Lindsey and Tyler.

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Rod K. Brenneman into the Hall of Fame.

photo of John C. Thomas

John C. Thomas

2010

John C. Thomas has had a passion for agriculture his entire life and has dedicated over half of his life to the pork industry. The contributions he has made to the pork industry in Oklahoma are immeasurable. John has a profound love for the land, the animals and the people in the pork industry, and that is what has made this lifelong passion so personally fulfilling and professionally invaluable.

John joined Tyson Foods, Inc., in 1984, after graduating from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. In his twenty-five years with The Pork Group, the live hog division of Tyson Fresh Meats, John has served in many capacities. John currently holds the title of Vice President of Live Hogs. John began as a management trainee with The Pork Group in 1984 and since then has had the opportunity to learn and teach the myriad aspects of the live swine business and the contributing factors to growing a strong operational foundation from the ground up.

John first came to Holdenville, Okla., in January of 1994 serving as Director of Operations. He worked on behalf of The Pork Group to build and establish a strong business in that area. He worked with the contract producers to ensure growth and success.

Besides building a home and a life in the Holdenville area, John developed and sustained many relationships which allowed him an opportunity to achieve his professional goals of ensuring that thriving and vital operations were built. Also, John was extended an opportunity for personal enrichment by being embraced by Oklahomans and befriended by individuals who remain close confidantes. 

John was the first corporate executive named as a board member to the Oklahoma Pork Council.  John was highly involved in state legislation efforts and agricultural partnerships with Oklahoma State University.

“I am honored to serve as a leader within our company and our industry. I believe that one of the keys to operating a successful organization is to maintain focus on operational excellence,” said John Thomas.

John holds a great deal of gratitude for the investment others have placed in him. He believes that sustainability, a strong business model, and adaptation are a few of the keys to a successful business. He also believes it is essential to acknowledge the contributions made by all those who are a part of the growth and development of the pork industry.  

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts John C. Thomas into the Hall of Fame.

View John's award video - Part 1 and Part 2

 

photo of Myrl Mortenson

Myrl Mortenson

2010

Myrl Mortenson developed an excitement for the pork industry when he and his brother added pork production to their family farm in Arizona in the early 1970s. He moved to the Midwest in 1975 to pursue a deeper involvement in the pork industry and find a platform to build his vision for pork production.

Myrl began his career as general manager of Gilt Edge Farms in 1975 in Freeport, Ill. Gilt Edge Farms was the largest confinement farm in the U.S. at that time with 1,500 sows. In 1983 Myrl began working with PIC and served as the senior vice-president of operations for 15 years. During that time, PIC went from a small breeding stock company to the world?s largest breeding stock company.

In 1997 Myrl and his partner, Baxter Gutknecht, formed the Hanor Company in conjunction with the Kronseder family that operates in Germany. Through this partnership, PIC genetics were applied in large commercial settings throughout the United States.

Myrl had a vision for what commercial pork production could be in Oklahoma, particularly in the Hennessey area, and provided the oversight to make that vision a reality with PIC and later with Hanor?s Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma operations. The pork production model Myrl envisioned and established has shaped the entire pork industry.

In 2006 Hanor took this vision even further as part of the cooperative of companies that invested in and built the Triumph Foods plant in St. Joseph, Missouri. Triumph Foods is an integrated model that processes 19,500 pigs each day in the most modern pork plant in the world. The industry?s adage of ?Farrow to Finish? became ?Farrow to Table? for Myrl and his partners with the inception, construction, and completion of the processing plant which had been the culmination of 35 years of work toward producing pigs, controlling costs, revenues, and finally the end product.

Myrl was instrumental in developing many people that work in the pork industry today. He saw potential in the students at Oklahoma State University and residents of rural Oklahoma as managers for pork operations. He began hiring Oklahoma residents and students before the farms were even completed. Many prominent Oklahoma pork producers served under Myrl?s leadership and consider him an important influence and mentor. Myrl and his wife, Gayle, reside in Enid, Okla.

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Myrl Mortenson into the Hall of Fame.

View Myrl's award video Part 1 and Part 2

photo of Vernon Stevens

Vernon Stevens

2009

Vernon Stevens was instrumental to bringing commercial pork production to Oklahoma. Vernon began his career with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in 1953 serving as county livestock agent for Bryan and Marshall Counties. In 1966 Stevens became one of the first OCES area livestock specialists in Oklahoma. His appointment was to spend most of his time in on the pork industry. Vernon began by introducing pork production to farmers in northwest Oklahoma as a means to additional cash flow on their wheat and cattle operations. Many of these operations began with 30 - 100 sows, a large number for the time, and eventually grew to 200 - 400 sow operations.

The key to these larger sow operations was using a central farrowing house and Vernon played a large role in developing slatted floors, ventilation systems, and waste management systems that made farrowing houses work. Using a farrowing house, the number of pigs weaned increased and therefore the farmer’s profitability increased.

Vernon also taught farmers how to formulate a feeding ration that worked for sows and pigs indoors. He wrote many OSU extension fact sheets about swine nutrition as well as development of a central farrowing house.

Another of Vernon’s contributions to the pork industry was the Area Market Hog Show which allowed farmers to bring a sampling of their swine heard for live evaluation in a show and processing at a local packing plant. Carcass data was collected and returned to the farmers. This was a very popular program with area farmers because they learned how to live evaluate their animals and see the end product of their genetics. Participation in the show was high until the show had to be discontinued when the local packing plant went out of business. Vernon was the superintendent of the Golden Pork Chop program, a similar show and carcass data program, at the Oklahoma State Fair for many years.

Vernon, a 1945 graduate of Hinton High School, served two years in the U.S. Army during World War II. He then attended Oklahoma A&M College earning his bachelor’s in animal husbandry in 1953. Vernon earned his master’s form OSU in 1970. He served in the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service from 1953 to 1985.

Vernon has been honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Extension Agents in 1975, the Service Award to Oklahoma’s Swine Industry from the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association in 1979 and honored by the OSU animal science department for his 32 years of distinguished service in 1986. In 1996 the Northwest Oklahoma District Livestock show, held in Enid, was dedicated to Vernon.

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Vernon Stevens into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Kim Brock

Kim Brock

2008

Kim Brock’s influence on Oklahoma’s pork industry has been far reaching and multifaceted. He became interested in showing pigs at a young age and that interest developed into a career at Oklahoma State University as the swine herd manager for the past 29 years. Kim’s combination of teaching and research benefits the industry of today and also prepares Oklahomans to become part of the industry of the future.

While working at OSU, Kim helped a number of students continue their interest in swine and many are still involved in Oklahoma’s swine industry today. At the swine farm, Kim mentored undergraduate and graduate students in swine science. His ability to relate to the students and cultivate their interested allowed him to gain great respect from his students. While at OSU, Kim also worked with students at the livestock judging coach, winning two national championships.

Kim also contributes to the swine industry by promoting swine production to youth through his work judging livestock shows across the country. He has judged on numerous levels, from local shows to national shows, in 30 different states.

Kim passionately educates young people about Oklahoma agriculture. He often allows school groups to visit the OUS swine farm to gain knowledge about where their food comes from. Kim believes this will allow them to make informed decisions toward agriculture in the future.

In 2007, Kim was honored as the 2001 Outstanding Staff Award at OSU for his continued efforts in educating students and promoting OSU. Aside from his work with OSU, Kim enjoys spending time with is wife, Pam, and their son Kaid.

For his commitment to mentoring students, swine research, purebred livestock and continued development of Oklahoma’s pork industry, the Oklahoma Pork Council proudly inducts Kim Brock into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Paul H. Hitch

Paul H. Hitch

2008

Paul H. Hitch has been a longstanding advocate for the Oklahoma pork industry and agriculture within Oklahoma. Paul’s involvement in agriculture traces back to 1884 when his family settled in the panhandle of Oklahoma, running cattle. The Hitch family has been instrumental in developing Oklahoma’s agriculture industry since that time; it was Paul who made the decision to become involved in the pork industry.

Serving on the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture from 1995 to 2001, Paul promoted the importance of the pork industry on Oklahoma’s economy. Paul’s work within agriculture has promoted a better understanding of Oklahoma’s pork industry by the Oklahoma legislature. By allowing legislative visits to his operations in Guymon, Paul has been instrumental in putting a face on Oklahoma’s agriculture industry in the panhandle and specifically the pork industry.

Paul has also been involved with the ProAg organization which promotes agriculture in Oklahoma. Paul along with other ProAg members developed the program during the conflicts over the pork industry in the Oklahoma legislature.

Paul’s other contributions to the agriculture industry in Oklahoma include being involved with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Kansas Livestock Association and Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers.

Currently, Paul continues to operate Hitch Enterprises, Inc., in Guymon, Okla. He enjoys sharing the values that agriculture has instilled in him with his two sons and their families, who are continuing the family business.

For his commitment to the development and promotion of Oklahoma’s pork industry, the Oklahoma Pork Council proudly inducts Paul H. Hitch into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Charlie Maxwell

Charlie Maxwell

2007

Dr. Charlie Maxwell’s influence on Oklahoma’s pork industry has been far reaching. He served in the Oklahoma State University Animal Science department from 1968-1996 teaching and researching swine nutrition and management. Dr. Maxwell’s research resulted in a better understanding of the impact of management systems on the performance of young pigs. He has been actively involved in a sow research project for the southern region since its inception in 1978.

While teaching at OSU, Dr. Maxwell had a profound impact on students who are still involved in Oklahoma’s swine industry today. As a program advisor, Dr. Maxwell mentored undergraduate and graduate students in swine science. He gained the respect of his students for his ability to pass along his wealth of knowledge about pig production while truly caring about the student. Students and their learning experiences are always important to Charlie. 

Dr. Maxwell’s other contributions to the swine industry include directing the OSU swine farm for many years, including a period of repopulation in the 1970s. He also served on the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association and assisted with the OSBA annual show and sale.

Dr. Maxwell helped form relationships with swine integrators such as Tyson Foods’ Pork Group when they were looking at Oklahoma as a major production site in the early 1990s. He was an advocate for Oklahoma’s potential as a center of commercial swine production.

In 1996, Dr. Maxwell moved to the University of Arkansas where he is continuing his swine research, teaching, student mentoring, and directing the university teaching swine herd. In 2004, Dr. Maxwell received the prestigious Alltech Medal of Excellence honoring his exceptional swine nutrition research.

For his commitment to swine research, mentoring to students, and advocacy of Oklahoma’s pork industry, the Oklahoma Pork Council proudly inducts Dr. Charlie Maxwell into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Don Ramsey

Don Ramsey

2006

Don Ramsey has provided unending support to Oklahoma’s youth in agriculture for the past 35 years. After receiving an Agricultural Education degree in 1950 from Oklahoma State University, Don spent two years in the U.S. Army. He was an Agricultural Education instructor until 1972 teaching at Washington, Alfalfa and Jones, Oklahoma.

Don began utilizing locally raised pigs from show projects and processing them into breakfast sausage. Local FFA chapters began selling this sausage as a fundraiser. In 1970 the first Blue and Gold Sausage production facility was built in Jones, Oklahoma. Today Blue and Gold Sausage Company provides over 3.5 million pounds of sausage, bacon and chicken products to more than 800 groups in Oklahoma and surrounding states. Don has been responsible for over 55 million pounds of sausage production over the last 35 years.

Don is active in several organizations that support Oklahoma’s youth. He serves on the Oklahoma FFA Foundation and the OSU Agricultural Education Scholarship Fund board of directors. Don was president of the Southwest American Livestock Foundation in 1990 and Sirloin Club of Oklahoma in 1988. He was president of the Oklahoma Vo-Tech Foundation Board in 1985.

Don has been active in the purebred swine industry for many years. In 1984, he was given the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association Achievement Award and was an Oklahoma 4-H and FFA Jr. Livestock Show Honoree. The Ramsey family and Blue and Gold Sausage Company have been active participants in the premium sales for the Oklahoma Youth Expo and Tulsa State Fair.

Don and his wife Willadean still reside in Jones, Oklahoma. Their sons Greg and Brett also live in Jones and are involved in production at Blue and Gold Sausage Company.

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Don Ramsey into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Tom Gilliam

Tom Gilliam

2006

Tom Gilliam’s involvement in the swine industry began when he exhibited hogs as an FFA member in Cyril, Oklahoma. After Tom graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1958 with an Animal Science degree, he and wife his Reta moved to Illinois where he worked as a field representative for a swine breed association. After two years, Tom and Reta returned to Oklahoma where Tom took a job sorting hogs at the Oklahoma National Stockyards.

This entry level job opened many doors for Tom at the Stockyards. He quickly went from sorting hogs to selling hogs for a commission company. Eventually Tom opened Simms Order Buying Cattle Company and over the years bought and merged other order buying services into Stockman- Oklahoma. Tom also owns part of the Apache Livestock Market. To date, Tom has bought and sold over 5 million animals.

Tom has been a leading member of the swine industry for many years. He has been a member of the Oklahoma Pork Council since 1975. Tom co-owned 11,000 commercial gilts in the mid-90’s and produced many purebred swine for the show arena. Tom has been credited with helping to bring modern pork production into Oklahoma. After he started his own operation, Tom met with company representatives to explain the benefits Oklahoma could provide for their pork operations. He also met with potential contract growers to enable them to learn about pork production opportunities. Tom continues to mentor many Oklahoma pork producers.

Tom served on the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture during a period of explosive growth of Oklahoma’s pork industry in the 1990s and was influential in developing the rules that govern livestock operations in Oklahoma. In 2005, Tom was honored for his role in Oklahoma agriculture when he received the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture.

Tom was instrumental in relocating and expanding OSU’s Swine Education and Research Center. He served as an important third party as OSU and the Stillwater community discussed how and where the facility would be built.

Tom’s children Jeff, Rhonda, and Sheila were active in 4-H and FFA and he was always involved with their livestock projects. Tom continues to support youth in agriculture at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, Tulsa State Fair, and local swine shows by arranging buyers for animals and participating in premium sales.

It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Tom Gilliam into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Charlie Wieland

Charlie Wieland

2005

Charlie Wieland has been involved in the swine industry all his life. He has held many diverse roles but his love of the industry and leadership ability has always been strong.

Charlie began showing barrows while a young boy at Hydro Schools. He traveled to Oklahoma State University and received his degree in animal science in 1975.  While at OSU Charlie was active on the livestock judging team and received the Bob Jessup Award as the outstanding team member. After college, Charlie served as the southwestern regional field representative for the National Hampshire Registry.

From 1977 to 1979, Charlie served as herdsman for the OSU swine farm. He was then able to return home to Hydro and begin his own farrow-to-finish herd and swine feed and equipment business and he served part time as a field man for the National Spotted Swine Registry. During this time, Charlie was also active as a judge for local, state and national swine shows. He has judged every district show in Oklahoma and judged the National Barrow Show twice. In 1997 Charlie took a job as Environmental Specialist for Land O’ Lakes in Hinton where he works today. 

In addition to his work, Charlie has served in many leadership roles for industry organizations. He was elected as the Hampshire director of the Oklahoma Swine Breeder’s Association in 1978 and served on the OSBA board for 14 years. Charlie was elected president of the Oklahoma Swine Breeder’s Association in 1989 and served in this role until 1998. Charlie was selected to be a National Pork Forum delegate 3 times and a National Pork Board delegate 2 times. He also received the Pork All-American Award.

Charlie’s service to OPC has been outstanding. He served two terms on the OPC Board of Directors. His first term was in 1985 when the transition was made from a state to national Checkoff program and Charlie was instrumental in developing OPC’s associate membership program. Charlie’s second term concluded Feb. 2005 and he served as president in 2004. Charlie has been a part of the OPC industry image showcasing how he is committed to his community, the swine industry and Oklahoma. Charlie’s leadership as President has provided a ‘voice of reason’ while preparing OPC programs.

Charlie and his wife, Denise, have four children and are very active in the Hydro community. Charlie continues to be a great leader as he serves on the local and county fair boards and he recently was a candidate for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

For his outstanding commitment to swine genetics, leadership to industry organizations and role in today’s modern pork production, the Oklahoma Pork Council proudly inducts Charlie Wieland into the Hall of Fame.

photo of Jerry Dennis

Jerry Dennis

2005

Jerry Dennis became involved in the swine industry at the age of 15. Jerry so enjoyed raising swine, he even kept a herd while attending Oklahoma State University. Jerry devoted his life to producing the highest quality breeding stock and helping Oklahoma’s youth.

Jerry graduated from Wapanucka High School in 1963. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education from Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and his Bachelor of Science and Masters in Agriculture Education from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 1968. He married Sandra Kincaid on August 6, 1965. They made their home in Granite, Oklahoma, where he was the Vocational Agriculture teacher for twenty-two years. They moved to Wapanucka in 1989 where Jerry was the Johnston County O.S.U. Extension Agriculture Educator for over ten years, retiring in July 1999. Jerry then became the principle and vocational agriculture teacher for Wapanucka schools.

Jerry was a member and past president of the Oklahoma Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, a member of the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce where he was recognized a Citizen of the Year, and was on the Board of Directors with INCA Community Services.. He also held memberships with the Lions Club, Johnson County Livestock Association, National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association and the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association. Jerry attended the Wapanucka Church of Christ. Jerry passed on February 24, 2003, after a battle with cancer.

Jerry’s legacy to the swine industry includes great Hampshire and Crossbred genetics and his commitment to helping students who wanted to get started in the show pig industry. Jerry’s commitment was demonstrated through his many years as swine superintendent for the Tulsa State Fair. He was also an excellent swine judge and judged many shows in southwest Oklahoma over the years.

Many people who knew Jerry considered him a role model and admired him for how he lived his life. He was always willing to help a student with feed for an animal and was quick to share his vast knowledge of swine genetics.

The Oklahoma Pork Council proudly honors Jerry’s legacy by inducting him into the Hall of Fame

photo of Rick Maloney

Rick Maloney

2004

Rick Maloney has devoted his entire life to helping the Oklahoma and National swine industry. Rick, a Vietnam veteran, worked as a field man for the Poland China Association while attending Oklahoma State University.  After college he became the first Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork CouncilThrough his hard work and leadership, The Oklahoma Pork Council soon became a viable and respected organization of the Oklahoma swine industry.

Rick left the Oklahoma Pork Council in 1973 and moved to Indiana to become the Executive Secretary of the Spotted Swine Record.  He later moved to Illinois and became the Executive Secretary of the Hampshire Swine Registry.  During Rick's tenure as the Executive Secretary of the Hampshire Registry, litter registrations increased 50 percent. He was also very instrumental in establishing performance testing programs and developing procedures to improve registrations, field man service and breed recognition.

In 1993, the state of Oklahoma was very fortunate that Rick returned to Oklahoma and accepted the position of Director of  Market Development with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.  He is responsible for promoting domestic and international sales of Oklahoma's food and agricultural products.  Soon after accepting the Oklahoma position, Rick was elected an Ex-Officio Board of Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council and has been very helpful and supportive of the group. 

Rick has taken a leadership role in working with the youth of Oklahoma.  He is currently a swine superintendent at the Oklahoma Youth Expo and the Tulsa State Fair. He is very actively involved in the premium sales of both shows.  Rick is currently President of the Southwest American Livestock Foundation, a support organization of the Oklahoma Youth Expo.

Rick's family is also actively involved in the swine business. His wife, Linda works for a major feed company, his son, Craig works for a major swine corporation and his daughter, Danna and her family have a purebred sow operation.  Rick’s grandchildren show pigs at various state and national shows.

Rick Maloney is most deserving of a 2004 Oklahoma Pork Council Hall of Fame Award.

photo of Dr. Fred Ray

Dr. Fred Ray

2004

Dr. Fred Ray served with distinction on the faculty of the Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department for 25 years.  Dr. Ray was the Animal Foods Extension Specialist who worked quite closely with Oklahoma’s pork industry throughout his career at OSU.

Dr. Ray was involved with many projects and activities that were a real benefit to the Oklahoma pork industry.  This included serving as an Ex-Officio Director for the Oklahoma Pork Council and being actively involved with many of their projects.  Fred coordinated the Pork 101 program for meat processors, pork producers and allied industry personnel that had attendance from people around the nation.  His expertise in pork quality resulted in demand for him to present programs in many other states and nations.

Dr. Ray is a tireless worker who strives to meet the needs of his clientele.  This included collecting carcass data for many swine carcass contests for both adult and junior programs, helping with many market hog symposiums and swine field days and teaching 4-H and FFA youth meat programs.  He was a tremendous help to Oklahoma Meat Processors in conducting conferences on many needed topics such as HACCP training and food safety.

Dr. Ray is a modest unassuming person who never sought the limelight.  He has established a reputation as an individual who always tries his best to help pork producers and allied industry personnel and is held in high esteem by all of his constituents.

Major awards received by Fred Ray throughout his career include:

            -Distinguished Extension-Industry Service Award, American Meat Science Association

            -Distinguished Service Award, Oklahoma-Texas Meat Processors

            -Distinguished Service Award, Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association

            -Superior Service Award, Epsilon Sigma Phi

            -Recipient of OSU-Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Program

            -Recipient of OSU-Don M. Tyler Animal Science Faculty Award

Dr. Ray is most deserving of a 2004 Oklahoma Pork Council Hall of Fame Award.

photo of Dutch Miller

Dutch Miller

2003

Dutch Miller served as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council from 1983 to 1994. The position was only part time when Dutch first began. With effort and determination, Dutch developed a pork catering enterprise for the Oklahoma Pork Council, and his position became full time. With the catering business, Dutch began the pork chop and pork burger concession booths at the Oklahoma and Tulsa state fairs. He expanded the pork catering business to include several other fairs, regional hog shows and many agricultural related banquets. Dutch also catered the Mayfest in Tulsa, the Art Festival in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Farm Show and Spring Livestock Show.

Dutch enjoys working with others and has a joint role in many projects with the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association and Animal Science Extension personnel at Oklahoma State University. He remains active with the Golden Pork Chop contest awards luncheons, providing a pork burger dinner at the Oklahoma All Breeds Sale and numerous other activities related to the Oklahoma Swine Evaluation Station and the Oklahoma Pork Congress. Dutch received the Recognition award from Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department for his outstanding efforts in animal science and contributions to Oklahoma.

While Dutch was Oklahoma Pork Council Executive Director he worked out of his home, due to the small swine industry in the state. He provided his home rent-free to the Oklahoma Pork Council, with his wife, Louise, providing clerical help to the association at no charge.

Dutch and Louise have two grown children, Paula and Patrick, and four grandchildren. Both remain active in their community, church, school and civic activities.

photo of Richard Alig

Richard Alig

2002

Richard Alig holds the distinction of being the first person from the state to represent Oklahoma on the National Pork Board. Additionally, he served as a 2002 Oklahoma Pork Act Delegate. Richard is a former three term President of the Oklahoma Pork Council, has served a term as Vice President and as Treasurer. Richard demonstrated great leadership skills while serving as President of the Oklahoma Pork Council during a trying period when the industry was expanding and restructuring in the state of Oklahoma.

Richard, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, is a former Oklahoma Pork All American and a graduate of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program. Richard has been active in the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, serving as a county President. He serves his local water district as Secretary-Treasurer and a board member of the Oklahoma Rural Water Association. In addition to being a member of the Oklahoma Pork Council, he is a member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. Richard is active in many community activities, including his church. Richard and his brother, Matt have a diversified farming operation near Okarche which includes hogs, cattle and sheep.

photo of Clarence Wayman

Clarence Wayman

2001

Clarence Wayman has been in swine production practically all his life. He is currently raising Yorkshires and has raised Spots and Poland Chinas. He and his brother James were known as the Mr. Poland Chinas of the Southwest and were recognized nationwide as the Wayman Brothers firm, that received many private production sales at their farm near Goltry. The Wayman Brothers won many national swine breeding show awards and had the high indexing pen and individual boars several times at the Oklahoma Swine Evaluation Station in Stillwater.

Clarence, a graduate of Oklahoma State University and a World War II veteran, was very active in national and state swine organizations. He served on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association for over 40 years, holding the offices of president and vice-president. He was a Board of Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council for 11 years and volunteered his time to manage the annual Southwest Spot and Poland Type Conference and Sale for many years.

Clarence is a dedicated community leader and has given generously of his time and money to 4-H, FFA, Oklahoma State University, and other organizations. Previously, Clarence has received an honorary Oklahoma FFA State Farmer degree, the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association Outstanding Service Award, the OSU Animal Science Department’s Recognition Award, and a special award from Elanco for his contributions to Oklahoma’s swine industry. 

photo of Richard Castle

Richard Castle

2000

Richard Castle served on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Pork Council from 1971 through 1998, a total of 28 years and holds the record for the longest tenure as President, a total of eight years.  He also held many other offices in the organization.  He also served a six-year term on the Federation Council of the National Pork Producers Council.

Richard was highly regarded for his superb diplomacy and outstanding leadership. During periods of inadequate funding, he led the Oklahoma Pork Council in accomplishing its goals in ways that did not take a lot of dollars.

Richard, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, was also a Director on the Board of the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association for several years.  Other activities include serving as  State Chairman of the Swine Committee for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Board of Director of the Alfalfa County Farm Bureau and the Alfalfa County Extension Advisory Board.  He is a dedicated community leader, a former President of the Jet, Oklahoma Lions Club and a great supporter of 4-H and FFA programs.

Richard and his wife, Cecilia have three grown children, two daughters and a son.  Richard, his son, Kent, and his brother, L.E., still operate a large commercial swine enterprise that was started in the early 1960s.

photo of Gene Parsons

Gene Parsons

1999

Gene Parsons was born in Waco, Texas and spent the early days of his life on a farm near Waco, Texas until World War II.  Gene is a Naval Officer veteran of World War II and served with distinction in the Pacific Theater and saw action in the Okinawa engagement.  After World War II, Gene returned to Baylor University and completed his BBA degree.

Gene’s tremendous capability in public relations began at an early age when he started selling “Liberty” magazines door-to-door while attending grade school and helping his parents in their share-crop farming operation.  Gene has had a very outstanding career in public relations and sales his entire life. He has worked in display advertising and owned an advertising and motivational management agency.  Other positions have included being  general manager of a dairy products company in Waco, Texas and later a partner and vice-president of Gilt Edge Farms Dairy in Norman, Oklahoma.

Community activities while at Waco, Texas included being president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and Goodwill Industries.

Gene became the State Executive of the Oklahoma Pork Council on January 1, 1995.  During his tenure, the swine industry in Oklahoma has grown nearly ten-fold.  Gene very capably guided the Oklahoma Pork Council during this expansion to effectively serve the industry.  A big key to his success was the assistance of his wife, Janine.

Gene’s strengths are making things happen, analyzing people and getting them motivated.  He excels in enthusiasm and will make personal sacrifices to make the “right things” happen.  The Oklahoma Pork Council is extremely appreciative for his guidance and leadership through the last four years.  His secret of success is his attitude that “any goal is possible to attain if you don’t care who gets credit.”

photo of David Richardson

David Richardson

1999

David Richardson has been in pork production for over 30 years.  David began as a finisher of feeder pigs, then farrow-to-finish and presently operates a large farrow-to-wean farm.  Other farming operations have included beef cattle and wheat.

David has also been a high school teacher, coach and principal.  He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a M.S. degree from Oklahoma State University.  David and his wife Donna, a school teacher, have two grown sons.

David has been one of the truly outstanding leaders of the Oklahoma Pork Council, serving on the Board of Directors for 12 years and was president for two years and treasurer for one year.  He also served  on the Board of Directors of the National Pork Producers Council for six years.  He is a past Director of the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association and has been a member of the OSU Extension Advisory Council.

David Richardson is well respected by all who know him for his sincerity, integrity and leadership abilities.  David is a modest person who does not seek personal recognition and never worries about who gets the credit in any organizational undertaking.  He is a role model for any leader in any agricultural commodity group.  The Oklahoma Pork Council owes much gratitude for the great leadership and work of David Richardson.

photo of Dr. William G. (Bill) Luce

Dr. William G. (Bill) Luce

1998

Pork production has changed dramatically over the past few decades, but one thing that has not changed is Dr. William (Bill) Luce's dedication and commitment to pork producers.

Dr. Luce was an Extension Swine Specialist for over 30 years at Oklahoma State University, retiring with the rank of Regents Professor. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Science and Animal Nutrition respectively from the University of Nebraska. But even after retirement from the university, Dr. Luce continued his passion of working with pork producers through the Oklahoma Pork Council.

Although many think of Dr. Luce as an educator, his early work in research helped to improve swine health and to secure Oklahoma's current ranking as a major pork producing state. He developed and managed the tested-boar stations and coordinated the auction of performance-tested gilts and boars. He developed animal workshops and seminars on pork production techniques including farrowing-house management and artificial insemination. Under his direction the Oklahoma Pork Congress and Trade Show attracted national participation. He was instrumental in establishing a validated pseudorabies-free swine-health program and a statewide specific-pathogen-free (SPF) program. Much of the credit for Oklahoma achieving the status of hog-cholera free also can be directed to Dr. Luce.

Through this award the pork industry recognizes the lifelong commitment of an outstanding leader. Producers of Oklahoma and the entire United States have benefited from the talents, determination and foresight of Dr. William Luce. 

photo of Page Thurston

Page Thurston

1998

Page Thurston is a farmer/rancher of 30+ years from Alex and a long time member and supporter of the pork industry in Grady County and Oklahoma.

Page is a graduate of teh University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. He is a former teacher and assistant superintendent of Chickasha Public Schools. He was an Army officer with three years active duty in Germany and was discharged from the Army Reserve as a Captain. Page was President of the Oklahoma Pork Council from 1977-79 and was one of the individuals who helped to originally found the organization. He is a past director of the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association. He served on teh National Pork Producers Council BOard of Directors from 1977-84, including two three-year terms as director of the National Livestock Meat Board. He served on the NPPC Executive Committee from 1982-84 and on various NPPC committees from 1978-81, such as the Environmental and Energy Committee and Planning Committee. He also served as teh Pork Industry Director from 1985-88.

Page's wife, Peggy, is a high school history teacher and librarian at Alex Public Schools. He has four children: Phil, Melissa, Callie and Ginn, three of which are graduates of Oklahoma State University with the fourth rebelling and graduating from OU. 

Few people have contributed as much to the pork industry as Page Thurston. It is said that during many of his years of service there were timesthat he almost single-handedly kept the pork industry organization in Oklahoma breathing. Our nation owes Page deep gratitude for his unselfish works.

photo of Karold Kirk

Karold Kirk

1997
photo of Harvey Richardson

Harvey Richardson

1997

Harvey demonstrated exemplary leadership to the Oklahoma swine industry. He served as President of the Oklahoma Swine Breeders Association for 20 years. During his tenure, the Okalhaom Swine Breeders Association was recognized as one of the strongest and influential state swine breed associations in the nation. Harvey also served with distinction as President of te National Chester White Association and Treasurer of the National Poland China Association. 

Harvey was one of the premier swine breeders in the nation, demonstrated by the many grand champion animals exhibited at Breed Type Conferences, State Fairs and the National Barrow Show. Harvey was extrememly influential and a strong, dynamic leader in the purebred swine industry in Oklahoma and the United States.


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