“We’ve got babies!”

By: Rebekah Spader

Animal Science and agriculture classes at York High School in York, Nebraska are taking a different, more hands on approach to classes this year as two sows have taken up residence in the shop and are being cared for by the students themselves. This is a completely different approach to the tradition learning methods of books, videos and homework, and I am going to tell you how this opportunity came about. My name is Rebekah Spader, I live outside of Waco, NE and my family raises pigs. I am actively involved in the York High School FFA Chapter as a member, and as the Junior Advisor. Some of my FFA activities include showing pigs at the York County Fair and the Nebraska State Fair. This year I bought seven pigs to show and at some point this summer between talking to my dad, Stuart Spader, and talking to my FFA Advisors, Cal Williams and Jason Hirschfeld, I decided to keep two of my gilts to breed back. The whole idea behind this was that I wanted to give kids who live in town, or on a farm without animals, the opportunity to show an animal at the fair, and also I wanted kids to learn what raising an animal is like and to be able to understand modern day production practices first hand. In order to achieve this I talked to my advisors and said that I would like to donate my two gilts to our FFA Chapter and they thought that would be a great idea.  So after state fair I took the gilts home until a few days before they came into heat, then I brought them to school. Mr. Hirschfeld’s animal science students learned how to artificially inseminate a gilt, from checking for heat to inserting the pipette. The kids then got hands on experience breeding the gilts themselves as Mr. Hirschfeld coached from the sidelines. Kids who had never even seen a pig up close got the chance to help sit on their backs and squeeze the bottle of semen. There are a total of 24 students in this class and only six of them currently live on a farm. Before taking this class more than half the students had never even seen a pig up close let alone able to touch one. The kids are all very excited at this opportunity and are counting down the days until the gilts farrow; they have decided it will be anytime January 14-19.  When the gilts are ready to farrow we will bring them back to the school and farrow them with all the kids present. Then the kids will actually be able to partake in castrating, ear-notching, docking tails and giving shots. The coolest part of the project to me is that the students will be able to pick out a pig to be “theirs” one that they will take care of and then show at county and state fair. After talking about the project a fellow FFA member, Jesse Hoblyn, said he would like to donate a sow that he had to the project as well. So in some cases the kids will take the pig home and care for it throughout the summer and in other cases where they do not have a place to take the pig they will come to my house and the kids will come out and care for them there. They also have to do fundraising projects throughout the year in order to raise enough money to pay for the feed and other expenses. After county and state fair the money from marketing the pigs will go back into the project so they kids can show next year as well. We have already had at least 15 kids come up and express an interest in showing pigs. They said it would be so cool and that they normally wouldn’t have that chance. What started out as my FFA project has turned into something that will continue to grow and that I hope will benefit kids wanting to be active in the livestock industry for years to come. With each year that passes I hope more and more kids get involved with the project and learn to love the industry as much as I do.

 The Video Blog Project

We will be tracking the gilts throughout their pregnancy as well as the piglets growth once they are born. This is a learning experience for Rebekah as well as all of us and we thank her for her willingness to share this experience with everyone!  We will be posting video blogs, pictures, and updates once a month.  Please check back and join us monthly for these exciting updates. You will get the unique opportunity to watch these gilts throughout the pregnancy process as well as watch the piglets grow.

-NPPA Staff

Bekah’s First Video Blog: The Ultrasound

Crown Roast of Pork with Walnut-Rhubarb Stuffing

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Times

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients Icon

Ingredients

8-9 pound crown roast of pork
salt , to taste
pepper, to taste
1 pound Ground Pork, cooked and crumbled
5 cups dry bread cubes
1 14 1/2-oz can chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup Walnut halves, toasted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups rhubarb, diced (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1/2 cup sugar

Cooking Directions Icon

Cooking Directions

New USDA Guidelines
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously season pork with salt and pepper; place in shallow roasting pan; roast for about 2 1/2 hours (about 20 minutes per pound), until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove roast from oven; let rest about 10 minutes before slicing to serve with stuffing.Meanwhile, in large bowl thoroughly combine ground pork, bread cubes, broth, onion, celery, walnuts and seasonings; mix well. In medium saucepan, combine rhubarb and sugar; bring to a boil. Pour over stuffing mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into buttered 2-quart casserole. Cover, bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 1/2 hours.

Serves 16


Serving Suggestions Icon

Serving Suggestions

This elegant centerpiece entrée is actually very easy to prepare. Have the butcher cut and tie the crown roast for you. Simply roast, and bake the stuffing alongside in a separate casserole. Serve with buttered green beans amandine, a fruit salad and warm dinner rolls.


Nutrition Icon

Nutrition

Calories: 590 calories
Protein: 60 grams
Fat: 22 grams
Sodium: 670 milligrams
Cholesterol: 145 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 7 grams
Carbohydrates: 33 grams

Random Cooking Tip:

For marinated pork chops, put pork in a self-sealing bag with marinade in the refrigerator first thing in the morning. By suppertime, pork chops can be removed from marinade -dispose of used marinade- and ready to grill.

Recipe from: PorkBeInspired.com

The Future Starts Now

By: Ann Oswald, Mentoring Student

 

 

As I write this, I’m sitting in Lincoln, my home during the school year. The stockings are hung, the lights on the Christmas tree are glowing, and the house smells of cinnamon and pine. A sigh of relief escapes me as I realize this semester of school is finished. Being an Elementary Education major, my semester was filled with classes as well as practicum, which found me teaching in a fourth grade classroom in North Lincoln. What joys and challenges those students brought to my life!  Were you aware of how difficult it is to teach long-division? Yeah, neither was I.
If you haven’t recently experienced the joy of being around children, let me give you a glimpse into their minds. The following came from Mr. Miller, a first-grade teacher in Columbus Ohio, who gave his students the first part of a well-known proverb and had them come up with the rest. I don’t have the time or space to share them all, but here are a few of my favorites:

    Never underestimate the power of  …  termites.
     Don’t bite the hand that  …  looks dirty.
     A penny saved is  …  not much.
     If at first you don’t succeed  …  get new batteries.
    When the blind leadeth the blind  …  get out of the way.

    Isn’t it exciting to imagine these and other youth around our nation making decisions and leading in the very near future?! Since we know that they will be holding jobs and making choices as consumers, we must strive to make sure they are educated so that they can make wise selections. Therefore, it is so very important that we teach them about agriculture and the pork industry. It is also vital that we do this at a young age so that they can make educated decisions as they grow and mature. Young children are also very vocal about telling their parents and anyone that they come into contact with about what they know. When armed with the correct information, youth are great vehicles for sharing the facts about pork production with their parents and peers.

Knowing the importance of youth, how can we go about sharing the story of pork production? For me, it’s talking about growing up on a farm to my students. It’s answering questions and debunking myths that students may have about how their pork is raised and made ready for their dinner table.

Are you interested in playing a key role in educating our youth? There are many resources available to help you in this journey. Two of these include Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom and your very own Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA). Ag in the Classroom currently offers two publications called ‘Pig Panorama’ and ‘A Peek at Pork,’ both of which are designed to share lessons about the food chain, pork products, food processing, and nutrition. They also carry a plethora of other ag-related materials. NPPA can provide you with resources, even people, to share about pork.  Kyla and Jane are great ambassadors as they regularly do cooking demonstrations and speak at events like ‘Life on the Farm.’

Truthfully you, the reader, are ready to shape future minds right now. All you have to do is tell your own story about pork production. Volunteer to read a book about pork or agriculture to a local classroom. Tell the students how you raise your animals with the utmost care.  Children want to learn and they very much enjoy hearing from the farmers who raise their food.

The sound of Christmas music drifting through the living room reminds me that while another semester of my schooling has come to an end, my job is not yet done. As a future educator, I am asking you to join me in this mission of educating our youth about the pork industry.  The success of this mission is vital as with it we are sure to see the future of hog production grow in the years to come. Thank you for your dedication to our youth. May they bring as much joy to you as you do to their dinner table.

Merry Christmas!

Everything but the Oink

By: Ali Steuer, Mentoring Student

Just this past week as a part of fulfilling my duties as a Nebraska Pork Producers mentor, I job shadowed the head of procurement, Ron Steuk, at Farmland Foods©.  Corey Rains, an associate in the hog buying office first took me on a tour of the entire Smithfield plant.  “We use everything but the oink,” is one of the first things Corey told me.  A by-product in the swine industry is a non-food product made from hogs. From this tour I can now tell you that they are not lying when they say that phrase.  From the brain to the blood to the scraps that fall on the floor, every part of the pig is used.

At Smithfield, an underground auger system is in place throughout the entire plant.  This system catches pieces of meat that fall on the ground during processing, or the scraps they aren’t able to use and carries them to a rendering system within the plant.  They then process the “leftovers” and sell it.  Years ago, processing plants would simply get rid of the scraps because they were thought to have no use; today, they are a valued product.  Further, all the edible parts of the pig that you would never dream about eating, the brain, feet, tail, liver, etc. are delicacies in other countries.  While we were in the part of the plant strictly set aside for exports to Japan, Corey mentioned that if the pig had two tails it still wouldn’t be enough.  For Smithfield, they can’t export enough pig tails!  Lastly, the thing I found most interesting was the extraction of the pituitary gland.  This again is exported overseas and sells for high dollars, some $300 an ounce Corey thought.

The list of other products which are made from hogs is long. From the fatty acids we get weed killers, rubber, floor wax, crayons, make-up, plastics, chalk and antifreeze.  The blood is used to make glue, protein for animal feed, and in leather making. The glands and organs supply insulin for diabetics and ventricles for special heart surgery. The skin of the pig is used for gloves, shoes, and garments. The hair of the animal is used in artists’ brushes, as insulation and in upholstery. The bones are crushed into bone meal which adds minerals to animal feed, and is used in water filters and in glass making.  There are multiple benefits humans get from hogs other than just consumption.  If you have a heart valve from a hog, you know exactly what I am talking about; pigs are saving lives!

Tenderloin Tuesday: Caramel Apple Pork Chops

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Times

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients Icon

Ingredients

4 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt , to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium tart red apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

Cooking Directions Icon

Cooking Directions

New USDA Guidelines
Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chops, 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees F, followed by a 3-minute rest time. Remove; keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar,salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet; stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or just until apples are tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops; keep warm. Continue cooking mixture in skillet, uncovered, until sauce thickens slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Serves 4.


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Serving Suggestions

The flavor of the classic apple treat is a perfect fall taste for this meal. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans.


Nutrition Icon

Nutrition

Calories: 330 calories
Protein: 30 grams
Fat: 18 grams
Sodium: 100 milligrams
Cholesterol: 100 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 12 grams

Random Safety Tip:
Refrigerate leftover pork as soon as possible.

 recipe from: porkbeinspired.com