By Matt Reese
Ohio is so blessed to have incredible advocates in every sector of agriculture and I’m very lucky to get the opportunity to work with many of them as a part of my job. I recently got to emcee the Ohio Pork Congress luncheon and had the chance to help highlight some of these fantastic Ohio Pork Rock Stars (and there are plenty to pick from).
There were few bigger Ohio Pork Rock Stars in recent months than the now world-famous Bacon Vending Machine on the Ohio State University campus. It went international and was featured in USA Today, on ESPN and Fox News Network (among many other media outlets, including the prestigious Ohio Ag Net podcast). The incredible success of the Bacon Vending Machine was a group effort that included Meghann Winters, who had just started working at the Ohio Pork Council a couple of weeks before meteoric rise of world-renown for the Bacon Vending Machine. Meghann is still a student at Ohio State and before she started in her role with the Ohio Pork Council we had been talking about her being our intern at Ohio’s Country Journal. If she would have had that level of success interning for us, I think I’d probably be out of a job right now, so I want to thank the OPC for hiring Meghann and likely saving my job and congratulate Meghann for being an incredible Ohio Pork Rock Star right out of the gate in her career.
Another Ohio Pork Rock Star worth highlighting is Gracee Workman from Fairfield County. I first met Gracee when her son played on the elementary school football team with my son. I helped coach that football team and got to meet this truly fantastic spokeswoman and ambassador for Ohio pork. Gracee is always showcasing her love of Ohio hogs on social media and, in February, she did a really fantastic interview on an Illinois-based podcast sharing about her story and work in the Ohio pork industry. I am really glad Gracee’s skills as an Ohio Pork Rock Star far exceed my abilities as a football coach.
The Ohio Pork Council highlighted some additional Ohio Pork Rock Stars with the presentation of awards at the Ohio Pork Congress last week: Swine Manager of the Year Award: Nathan Isler, Prospect; Service Award winner Carl Link, Ft. Recovery; Friend of Ohio Pork Award winner Dr. Tony Forshey, Ohio State Veterinarian; Pork Promoter of the Year Award winner Hord Family Farms, Bucyrus; and Pork Industry Excellence Award winner Rick Fogle, Marion.
“Every year we present these awards and we’re fortunate in the state of Ohio to have such deserving people. There are so many people the young folks in this industry can look up and strive to be like in the years to come and serve the industry in a tremendous way,” said Dave Shoup, president of the Ohio Pork Council. “None of these families or individuals do this for the award. They do it for the industry. That is what has made them what they are — humble people promoting pork, watching out for the best interest of the industry and trying to help the industry move forward to represent ourselves very well to the consumers.”
Beyond the pork industry there are many similar rock stars in Ohio agriculture who have a passion for what they do and have found joy in their niche of the industry. That joy is the first step, I believe in becoming an Ohio Agricultural Rock Star.
Find the joy wherever you are;
Find the joy whatever you do.
For your circumstance is not by chance,
But part of the purpose for being you.