On Friday, August 4, 2023, the Oklahoma Pork Council hosted the 64th Oklahoma Pork Congress at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Oklahoma City. The event brought together more than 100 pork producers and supporters for educational sessions, an awards luncheon, and Oklahoma Pork’s annual business meeting to elect new leadership.
One highlight included celebrating six award recipients for outstanding performance or support of Oklahoma’s pork industry. The 2023 Oklahoma Pork Council slate of award winners are as follows:
Greg Stephens of Prestage Farms received the Oklahoma Pork Council Golden Pig Award for 30 years of distinguished service within U.S. pork production. This career achievement recognition is reserved for leaders who exhibit a longstanding example of character, knowledge and dedication to the industry.
Dr. Jared Harshman of Oklahoma State University earned the Oklahoma Pork Council Ambassador Award for his passionate advocacy of pork production throughout his exemplary academic career. Oklahoma Pork’s Ambassador Award was created to recognize individuals who may not directly raise pigs but have made a significant impact on our state’s pork industry.
Representative Dell Kerbs of House District 26 was chosen as this year’s Oklahoma Pork Council Outstanding Legislator to honor his heartfelt work as a champion of pork producers at the State Capitol. This award is given only to policymakers who consistently work with the agricultural community to protect our producers’ freedom to operate.
Alan Mattson of Seaboard Foods was the first recipient of the 2023 Oklahoma Pork Council Excellence Award. As a farm manager near Hinton, Alan sets an example in animal health and biosecurity through his servant leadership and devotion to his pigs. The Excellence Award is a peer-recommended accolade for pork producers who have made the daily work of raising pigs more than a job, but a true calling to take care of their animals and their teams.
Cathy Vaughan of Smithfield Foods also earned the 2023 Oklahoma Pork Council Excellence Award. During Cathy’s 18-year tenure within pork production, she has taken on impressive local, state and national roles to serve the broader industry beyond her own farms. The Excellence Award is a peer-recommended accolade for pork producers who have made the daily work of raising pigs more than a job, but a true calling to take care of their animals and their teams.
Kyle Schwerdtfeger of Schwerdtfeger Show Pigs was this year’s final recipient of the 2023 Oklahoma Pork Council Excellence Award. In addition to his full-time job with P&K Equipment, Kyle has raised quality show pigs with his family for 25 years. He works to champion herd health and strong biosecurity practices throughout the livestock showing community. The Excellence Award is a peer-recommended accolade for pork producers who have made the daily work of raising pigs more than a job, but a true calling to take care of their animals and their teams.
“Oklahoma pig farmers produce affordable, nutritious pork to feed families around the world,” Kylee Deniz, executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council shared. “This year’s award winners represent a perfect cross- section of the passion, integrity and commitment we see across our industry. For our board and our staff, it’s an honor to celebrate these six champions within Oklahoma’s agriculture community.”
To learn more about Oklahoma Pork’s Excellence Award recipients, watch their recognition videos on the Oklahoma Pork Council YouTube page.