Pork Mentorship Has Its Privileges

Contributed by Lukas Fricke and Amanda Clymer

The choice of which restaurant to choose on a date is especially difficult. That is why we the Nebraska Pork Producers Association Mentors have taken upon ourselves to help lessen the chance of a bitter and week-long lover’s quarrel.

Toast, a coffee, deli, and bar is nestled within the Fallbrook subdivision – Town Centre. The restaurant, placed in a building made to look old, offers plentiful seating options. We chose one of the busiest times to go out for dinner, right after a Husker football game (thanks to Lukas and his undying ability to make up his mind at the last minute).

We decided to walk into this local hangout spot and pick a nice table located near the back of the place. Immediately walking in you can notice the detail put into aging this late 2000’s subdivision construction. Details such as reused – over varnished wood trim and the rough textured walls. The seating was close yet, left room to be comfortable.

Almost immediately we were greeted by the friendly waiting staff and had our drinks within a minute and our appetizer order being placed. We chose the Filipino Pork Wraps to start off our evening of “enchantment”. This dish was sweet soy marinated pork loin served inside of a fresh lettuce leaf and paired with homemade pineapple salsa.





We then ventured into the entrees and liked what we saw. Cottage Pie with bacon and Brussel sprouts was Amanda’s selection

brussel sprouts







and Lukas ordered an ol’ Bavarian favorite, Viennese Schnitzel

cottage pie






The menu describes the cottage pie as a mixture of braised pork loin and tender vegetables topped with homemade mashed potatoes. The dish is also served with Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon. Lets just say that since this entrée includes pork in both the main dish and the side you can not go wrong with it.

The Schnitzel is breaded pork loin topped with a dill sour cream sauce. The dish also boasted a delicious bed of egg noodles and seasonal vegetables.







To end the night there is always dessert. None of the options involve pork, but there is definitely some enticing options. We tried the chocolate cake with UNL dairy store ice cream and the strawberry cheese cake. Just a warning the cake is plenty rich so be sure to get the ice cream and maybe even share it.







So next time that week-long quarrel in deciding where to go for date night remember these pork options at Toast and head over to the Fallbrook area. Enjoy the atmosphere and some great food.

National FFA Convention – A Bigger Experience

National Association of Agricultural Educators Teach Ag Ambassador at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky: Contributed by Toni Rasmussen


I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as a National Teach Ag Ambassador. Through this ambassador program, I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the National FFA Convention. During the week, as one of twelve ambassadors, I participated in training, a Teach Ag Workshop, an Agriscience workshop, and helped “man” the Teach Ag booth.

We first went through training to learn about the shortage of agricultural teachers and the reasons for the shortage. Surveys have been conducted and data has been collected that show the reasons we have a shortage includes Ag Ed majors are accepting non-teaching careers, the rigorous college admission standards, and lack of gender and ethnic diversity.

In the Teach Ag workshop, we split about 200 FFA members into 11 groups. Then, the ambassadors and current teachers moved around the groups telling them our background and answering questions about Ag Ed in college and about the agricultural teaching profession in general. In this, I learned a lot from current agricultural teachers about the differences in agriculture programs around the country.

The agriscience workshop was sponsored through DuPont Pioneer. Agricultural teachers learn about different labs and methods through a summer program. They then come to National FFA Convention and instruct other teachers on how to conduct the lab in their classrooms. In this session, I learned about inquiry learning and how to make my students think instead of thinking for them.

Finally, our main event was helping at the booth. This was a lot of fun and the time went by extremely fast. I talked to students about their career choices and tried to persuade them toward Ag Ed. Many students were already thinking about the major or were undecided. I told them the benefits, signed them up for email newsletters with the Teach Ag campaign, and talked to them about their competitions and agriculture programs.

Being a National Teach Ag Ambassador was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. I really enjoyed being able to talk to students and invest in our similar passion of agriculture and leadership. I learned so much about the profession of teaching agriculture and how to entice students to want to become agricultural teachers. While we may not have reached every student, I still felt as if we made a difference by giving them a bigger experience at the National FFA Convention.

Learn more by visiting http://www.naae.org/teachag/


Pictured are the 2014 National Teach Ag Ambassadors:
The 12 Teach Ag ambassadors for the 2014-2015 academic year are Logan Dale, Mississippi State University; Taylor Fredrick, University of Missouri; Christopher Hartley, North Carolina A&T State University; Gerald Ray Hosler III, Oregon State University; Nathan James McMullen, South Dakota State University; Olivia Murphy-Sweet, Pennsylvania State University; Toni Rasmussen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Emily Reed, Northwest Missouri State University; Andrew Steiner, South Dakota State University; Matthew Summerlot, Purdue University; Riane Towery, Oregon State University and Katelyn Vincent, Kansas State University.

How Does Excellent Animal Care Yield High Quality Pork?

Contributed by:  Kyla Habrock
Youth Education Director, Nebraska Pork Producers Association


Teachers and counselors realized the complexities and challenges that exist for today’s pig farmers as they participated in the Nebraska Food Project. Thomas Livestock Company enthusiastically hosted the experiential learning opportunity. Thomas Livestock Company is a 3rd generation family farm that over the last 30 years has transitioned from a traditional grain and livestock farm to focusing exclusively on contract swine production. Today, the farm spans 10 counties, consists of 16,000 sows (adult female pigs who give birth to piglets) farrow to finish (birth to full-grown market weight) with an approximate annual production of 560,000 pigs.

Tim Friedel and Tim Chancellor lead the educational experience that helped teachers and counselors understand, by seeing first-hand, how excellent animal care yields high quality pork after completing a shower in/shower out tour of Thomas Livestock Company’s Georgetown Sow Farm or the Ash Creek Wean to Finish Farm. Larry Coleman, DVM, lead the tour through the feed mill, plus engaged teachers and counselors in an analytical lesson that challenged their perceptions on feeding pigs and feeding people.

Following the tours, Coleman facilitated conversations that encompass many sectors of the pork industry including:

Chef Afif Espindola, Executive Chef, Bonfire Grill Restaurant and Pub shared culinary expertise and encouraged teachers to introduce students to pork. Chef Afif says, “Understanding how the carcass is made up should help students better understand how and why different cooking methods are used.”

Jim Jones, Contract Grower, Farmer/Rancher, Past State Senator shared his unique story about bringing younger people back to the farm. Jones and his family has experienced success adding earning potential by contract growing pigs with Thomas Livestock Company.

Rick Wise, CEO, Heartland Builders discussed the importance of the swine industry in the building and construction trades. Wise explained 85% of their business is related to the pork industry. He challenged teachers and counselors to encourage students to pursue skills/trade careers like plumbing and electrical.

John Blanscet and Ron Steuk, Hog Procurement, Farmland Foods/Smithfield shared interesting information specifically about the Crete plant. In one, eight hour shift, employees process 10,400 pigs. Twelve percent of the pigs that are processed in Crete come from Thomas Livestock Company everyday.

RJ Thomas, Owner, Thomas Livestock Company, explained their understanding of pigs has changed the most. But the fact he wanted to underscore is, “We raise animals to make food for people, and we do it humanely.”

Tim Friedel, General Manager, Thomas Livestock Company, further emphasized pig care by discussing the specialized 24 hours a day, seven days a week care provided to sows. He explained, “We are the most extreme activists for animals – it’s important to treat the pigs the best we possibly can, it’s about caring for that pig.”

Jose Hernandez, Thomas Livestock Company, shared his story as an immigrant to the United States, living in Broken Bow, working for Thomas Livestock Company, and raising a family. Jose encouraged teachers to create a culture in their classroom for students that provides support and belief in their abilities. He ended by confessing how important relationships are to him, “Dana (Jose’s boss) is my friend – I owe him a lot. He treats me like family.”

Teachers and counselors who participated in the 2014 Nebraska Food Project have a better understanding of how excellent animal care yields high quality pork. More so, teachers and counselors who participated in the 2014 Nebraska Food Project have a better understanding about how attitude, compassion, pride, and connecting with people make all of the difference.

Photo 1
Tim Chancellor, Thomas Livestock Company, is explaining the new Nedap electronic sow feeding system used in the Georgetown Sow Farm.





Photo 2

Teachers see various ingredients that are incorporated into a pig’s diet while touring the feed mill. Larry Coleman, DVM, explains the importance of balanced rations to ensure each pig receives the proper nutrition at each growth stage.



Photo 3
Becky Finney and Anne Thomas listen as RJ Thomas explains the philosophy Thomas Livestock Company employs when caring for pigs.

Once Upon A Farm


The Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, as well as several other agricultural groups and organizations have partnered with the Omaha Children’s Museum to present a community-engaged exhibit named Once Upon a Farm. The exhibit opened on October 18th, and will remain open until April 12, 2015.

The museum is located at 500 South 20th Street in downtown Omaha.

“Our shared vision in creating this exhibit,” said Lindy Hoyer, Executive Director of the Omaha Children’s Museum, “is to help the kids growing up in an urban environment make stronger connections to the origins of their food before it makes it to the shelves of the grocery store or farmers market.”

Children will be able to slide behind the seat of a kid-powered combine, wheel around a maze in the John Deere pedal track, learn what it takes to milk a dairy cow and hop aboard the Ag Express for an up-close look at a real life tractor. These little farmers can learn all about water and irrigation while playing under the kid-sized center pivot and see what it takes to plant and care for crops in the miniature planting station. The museum is planning different programs each week through the event’s run that will focus on a new topic and will incorporate various farm animals on special weekends.

This exhibit provides a great opportunity for Nebraska families to explore the world of agriculture, according to Hoyer. “With agriculture as a leading industry in our state, it is vital for us to help our kids understand where their future lives will intersect with the people who work and manage our farms and ranches,” she said.

The Nebraska and Iowa Pork Producers Associations encourage you to visit this new exhibit at the Omaha Children’s Museum. In fact, take your children and grandchildren. Tell your friends about Once Upon a Farm this fall and winter and encourage them to attend.

Photo 1


Abby Wehrbein, Pork Mentor, prepares samples of ground pork bacon burgers for families attending the Once Upon a Farm Display opening at the Omaha Children’s Museum.








Photo 2

During the event, volunteers learned that many folks had never eaten ground pork before. Over 1,000 tasty samples were enjoyed, and a number of folks said they looked forward to using ground pork at home.








Photo 3

Megan Jedlecki, second from left, was the winner of a Traeger Junior Elite Grill and a case of pork tenderloins, provided in partnership by Crawford Supply Company, Porter Supply Company, and the Nebraska and Iowa Pork Producers Associations.