The importance of recognizing the effect that each of us has on the lives of others is immeasurable. These relationships have been as much a part of this column as the subject of meat and livestock marketing. When we give for a cause higher than ourselves, we take on the responsibility of serving those who first helped us. “Give to receive.”

It would be remiss of me to discontinue writing the “Knightro Report” without giving due respect to those who are no longer with us but made a significant contribution to the content of this column.

They helped shape my life into the person I am today, and it has been an honor and a privilege to share this wealth of livestock introspect with our readers.

Beginning in chronological order, these great men represent the entire spectrum of the livestock industry – from horse trader, to Doctor of Science.


My father, Harland Knight

Contribution: He was more than just a father; He made every effort to make sure l had a winner at the end of every lead rope.

My uncle, Alfred Jensen

Contribution: I may have been small enough to be a jockey, but he made me feel like I was ten feet tall at the end of every race.

The head of the Animal Science Department at North Dakota State University, Buck Buchanan

Contribution: From the end of a pitchfork to that of assisting in the classroom, he brought me into the fold of academic achievement.

Meat and animal science professors at North Dakota State University; These three standouts:

Dr. V.K Johnson
Contribution: Had it not been for V.K. I would never have finished college. He found something in me that I hadn‘t yet discovered, and to this day, I consider him to be my second father.

Merle Light
Contribution: He gave me the first and only score of 50 on a set of oral livestock judging. This can do a lot for your confidence.

John Johnson
Contribution: He was more like a brother, but as my livestock judging coach we shared the type of education that cannot be taught or learned in a classroom.

President of Lincoln Mutual Insurance, C.C. Koltes

Contribution: When you get called to the “auction block” to cry a three-day horse dispersion auction when you are only 20 years old, it can be a big boost to your adrenal fiow. His taking me under his wing while in college also helped the cash flow.

Corporate head of livestock procurement at Oscar Mayer & Co., Bill Marquardt

Contribution: Being hired back (more than once) by the same man was more than I deserved. Oscar Mayer was a great company to work for, and truly personified leadership in the industry.

President of Stark and Wetzel, Gene Turner

Contribution: To know you are wanted and needed was the epitome of this man, not only in terms of compensation but that of rank and title in the company.

Agriculture communications director at North Dakota State University, Dave Bateman

Contribution: Working as an apprentice under this man while going to school was an enriching experience. When he offered me a position as his assistant when l graduated, I was torn over what to do. To this day I’ve often wondered if I made the right decision.
County extension agent, Marvin Nordbo

Contribution: It was an early Tuesday morning telephone call that gave my life direction. He asked if I would like to go to a 4-H livestock judging contest. The rest is history: I won the contest, and never looked back.

Vice president of Iowa Pork Industries, Roger Hedin

Contribution: He was there for me in one of the darkest times of my life. When he hired me to head up their livestock procurement department, it was like throwing me a lifeline.

President of Jacques Seed Com Company, George Jacques

Contribution: The first “Knightro Report” was sponsored by George Jacques, before it was picked up by the “Farm And Livestock Directory”.

The most influential man in the hog industry, Roy Keppy

Roy was my mentor for everything from production to marketing. To be asked by the best to select hogs for his entries in the National Barrow Show was a self-fulfilling honor. He went on to win with the first crossbred of the show.

The mutual beneficiaries of these relationships have been many, but perhaps the most noted has been that of the “Farm And Livestock Directory”, and the 4-H arena. Both are very dear to my heart.