(Dedicated to Roy Keppy, treasured friend, and mentor)
The best mentor I ever had in the pork business was the late Roy Keppy. He taught me the difference between what the “radicals” are proposing and reality.
Having worked side by side with Roy, both in the show ring and on the farm, I can assure you some of these atrocious welfare protesters would change their mind if they would had spent just one day with him.
I learned ﬁrsthand what it was like to clean, disinfect, and sanitize an individual conﬁned farrowing crate versus rotating A-frame huts to green lush alfalfa ﬁelds. Though both required a lot of manual labor, there wasn’t much doubt about the comparison of efﬁciency and weaning rate. While the visual sight of rolling hills, green alfalfa, individual picket fence-type huts, and free-roaming sows is conducive to the tree-huggers, it doesn’t do nearly as much for the bottom line as a conﬁned sow farrowing operation.
Roy did everything just right, and just a little better than everyone else. He made history by winning the truckload division at the National Barrow Show in Austin, MN – the ﬁrst cross breed to ever win!
I’m proud to say I was a participant in that decision and even prouder to have been at his side when the National Pork Producers Council was formed. He wrote out a check for $5,000.00. That was a lot of money back in the early 60’s, but others began to follow suit — thus again, history was made.
I was even prouder to have been considered for the position of Executive Director of the NPPC. When Roy called and asked if l would be interested in the position, I never envisioned what it would someday become.
Also, I never envisioned the power of a handful of radicals in this country. One can only hope that there are more Roy Keppy’s that will step up to the plate and put a stop to their insanity.
Though I’ve been involved in the most dramatic evolution of the livestock industry, there was no greater “eye opener” that that of my special relationship with Roy Keppy (Mr. Hog Producer of the Century).
While working for Oscar Mayer & Co. in Davenport, Iowa, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to involve myself with this man and his family. Because of this experience, there is no one in the hog industry for which I have more respect.
May the industry honor his legacy by preserving the rights of all hog producers in this great country.