Sailing on a Sea of Blue and Gold

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In rural America, a Blue and Gold jacket holds a very special meaning. It represents leadership, hard work, and a commitment to care for the land and animals that feed us. The okPORK spent May 1 and 2 among great Oklahoma FFA students proudly donning their Blue and Gold.

“It’s always a great to spend time with FFA students,” said Nikki Snider, okPORK director of marketing and promotions. “I love hearing about their projects and seeing them make great achievements in this organization. And I especially love connecting with our Youth Leadership Camp alumnus.”

okPORK’s support of FFA at their state convention spanned many activities. We had a booth at their Career Fair, sponsored the award for the Swine Production Placement winner and the award and scholarship for the Swine Production - Entrepreneurship award. We also had the opportunity address the FFA chapters who donated animals to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to be protein sticks for their student backpack program.

At the Career Fair, okPORK held an enter-to-win giveaway for an okPORK backpack. We gave away 9 backpacks over the two-day trade show. Many students and parents eagerly entered the drawing.

Lindsay Henricks and Snider represented okPORK at the Awards and Stars Luncheon. They had the opportunity to meet the finalist for the Swine Production Placement and Swine Production Entrepreneurship awards, give them congratulations and take a photo with them.

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“This was okPORK’s first year to sponsor the Swine Production Entrepreneurship scholarship,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, okPORK executive director. “The finalists for the Entrepreneurship award are top notch and we wanted to increase our recognition of them to match their accomplishments.”

At the Hunger Challenge reception, Snider was able to deliver congratulatory remarks to the FFA chapters who generously donated swine and beef projects to Oklahoma’s Food Banks. And it was a large crowd since 231 chapters donated 588 animals last year. They also donated $5,337 in cash to the food banks. This allowed the food banks to distribute more than 1 million sticks to Oklahoma’s hungry kids through their weekend backpack programs.

“It was especially gratifying to address FFA students at the Hunger Challenge reception because Oklahoma kids giving back to other Oklahoma kids who are in need is so inspiring,” Snider said.

okPORK’s involvement in FFA Convention is all about those kids in the blue and gold. We do this for them – so they’ll have great opportunities as they launch in to the world this spring or continue their FFA career and come by our booth and say “hey” next year.

A Day in the Life | Wathina Luthi

Raising hogs back in the day was hard enough for anyone. But Wathina Luthi and her family handled it beautifully and she as became a kind of “Wonder Woman” in Oklahoma Swine Industry. She is known from the National Pork Board all the way to the United States Department of Agriculture for her achievements and involvement in the agricultural industry.

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When Wathina Luthi married her husband, and love of her life, Chuck, they wanted nothing more than to raise and grow hogs of their own. Wathina and Chuck started with just two hogs, yes just two. But their hog herd quickly grew.

Before becoming well-known in the swine industry nationwide, Wathina worked alongside her husband for many years in their Murphy Brown farm operation. Her main jobs included training employees to make sure the operation was running successfully. She also took care of building maintenance, sow care and making sure the piglets were happy and healthy. The pigs meant so much to Wathina, and her caring and motherly instincts helped make the operation work and run well.

Wathina also cared a lot about the women of the agricultural industry. With the many employees they managed. A large majority of them were women. Wathina thinks it is very important for women to have a place in the industry since many people think of farmers as men.  Wathina is thankful and proud of her investment in those employees, both men and women, and then how those employees faithful service helped them be successful

Of course, it was never just Wathina and Chuck running their entire operation. Their sons, Bert and AJ, were also a part of their tremendous success with the pigs.

About 10 years ago, the Luthi’s began contracting with the Machhoffs, and Wathina and Chuck found themselves at a National Pork Producers Council event where a speaker talked about how important the next generation of hog farmers was because of all the changes that were coming. Right then, Wathina and Chuck decided to pass down the operation to Bert. Wathina fully believes the next generation shapes our future and that was the main reason she wanted to pass down the operation to her son. She is a grandmother and wanted to spend some quality time with her grandkids outside of the barns.

It has been about five years since Bert took over the farm full time. AJ still helps out from time to time when Bert leaves or they are shorthanded.

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Today, Wathina is enjoying “pig retirement.” She still does paperwork for the farm, which has increased dramatically in her words. Her paperwork includes documenting employee trainings and feeding and caring for the animals. She wants to make sure everything is documented so the farm is running efficiently. She also enjoys babysitting and spending time with her six grandchildren who ages range from six months old to a sophomore in high school.

Wathina said the swine industry has been very rewarding. She has been involved in the local, state and national levels and was recently recognized as a Oklahoma Significant Women in Agriculture by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

“We have met so many industry professionals who have shaped the swine industry into what it is today,” Wathina said. “It has opened up so many doors for me and my family and has shown me how broad agriculture can be. It’s nice to know we had a small part in it.”

Wathina is proud of her family and loves seeing her children and grandchildren carry on her and Chuck’s traditions in making the swine industry one of the best.