Scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23, the annual meeting of the pork minds will take place at the Embassy Suites Norman – Hotel and Conference Center in Norman, Okla. The Oklahoma Pork Congress calls together more than 150 pork producers, allied industry members and guests for updates, programs, an awards luncheon, a business meeting, a silent auction and a new Viva Las Bacon Casino Night.
The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with an update from the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board. After the update, Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson, Oklahoma State University Animal Science faculty member, will share with Oklahoma pork producers her research in animal well-being.
This year’s lunch will be different than past meals as the awards portion of congress will be moved to lunch. Robert Teel, Prestage Farms, Juan Ovalle, Sr., Smithfield, and Sam DeHass, The Maschhoffs, will receive okPORK’s first annual Excellence Award. This award is designed to recognize pork producers who make the daily work of hog farming more than a job. In addition, okPORK will honor Senator Eddie Fields as the 2018 Outstanding Legislator, and Darren Wheeler, owner of Wheeler’s Meat Market, as the 2018 Ambassador.
Following lunch, okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey will provide an update for all members. Directly following the okPORK update James McSpadden will lead attendees through a discussion on the current legislative session and the effect it could have on Oklahoma’s pork industry. Following the updates, the 2018 Oklahoma Pork Council business meeting will take place.
At 4:30 p.m., the keynote session will include a panel made up of everyday consumers and their perceptions of agriculture. The randomly selected panel 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.
Instead of the standard awards banquet normally held at the end of congress, okPORK will be debuting a brand-new event called Viva Las Bacon – Casino Night. An evening of food, casino games – including blackjack, roulette, craps and poker – drinks, silent auction items, door prizes and a DJ will fill the room. The tickets are $25 and include hors d’oeuvres, $2,000 in poker chips, two drink tickets and a chance to will $1,000 cash. Your winnings turn into tickets to be entered for different door prizes including: Bacon of the Month Membership, Kamado Joe Smoker, $500 Cabela’s Gift Card, Extreme Sandbox Package and more.
Interested in attending or learning more? You can find the full agenda and purchase your Viva Las Bacon tickets at www.okpork.org/okporkcongress2018. You can also call the okPORK office at 405-232-3781 to get more information or purchase tickets by phone. okPORK will be posting live updates during the Oklahoma Pork Congress on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. We are located at www.facebook.com/okpork. The okPORK Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat handles are @Okpork and you can also follow updates using the hash tag #okporkcongress18.
The Oklahoma Pork Council, a producer organization consisting of Oklahoma pork producers, represents the interests of all pork producers. Partially funded by federally collected Pork Checkoff dollars, okPORK promotes pork and pork products, funds research, and educates consumers and producers about the pork industry. For more information about this or any other programs of the Oklahoma Pork Council visit www.okpork.org or call 1.405.232.3781.