Chuck and Wathina Luthi Inducted into okPork Hall of FameFri, 28 Feb 2014 15:56:31 CST
Stepping into someone else’s shoes can be the beginning of a trip anywhere. Stepping into Chuck and Wathina Luthi’s shoes is a trip going everywhere. There is a minimal amount of area in the Oklahoma pork industry their shoes haven’t traveled. For this reason okPORK announced Chuck and Wathina as their 2014 okPORK Hall of Fame inductees.
Chuck and Wathina’s contribution to the pork industry in Oklahoma began before they met, even before they were born. The two met in college, but before then both of their families had been involved in raising pigs. When the young couple moved to Woodward and Chuck took a job working in town, Wathina needed something to keep her busy at home.
“I told him he needed to find something to keep me busy or I was going to get a job in town,” Wathina said. “So we got two pigs - and we were excited. We got two sows and started there.”
As time went on the Luthi’s operation grew. They bought an old granary, a chicken house and several other buildings and converted them when they began to expand. More and more work was needed to keep the farm running.
Soon the industry began to change. The farrow-to-finish operation they had run for the last several years was no longer working. At that point they began to pursue a contract with a larger company and found that opportunity with Murphy Farms.
“In the early 1990s, south of Woodward, we were a 125 head farrow-to-finish operation,” Wathina said. “We ground our own feed, marketed the animals and everything. After contracting with Murphy we built the 3,650 head sow unit. It was farrow-to-wean with on-site guilt replacement.”
The Luthi’s farm has held contracts with several companies throughout the years but now they contract with The Maschhoffs. Their farm is slightly larger and they now have a 4,900 head sow farm. Their weaned baby pigs mostly travel north to Iowa to grow to market size.
“It has evolved where Oklahoma is the ideal climate for taking care of the sows and housing the sows here and having the babies here and then finishing the pigs up north in Iowa where the corn is," Wathina said. "It does make sense to take the pigs to where the corn is. That does work well for Oklahoma as agriculture is a viable part of the community.”
In an effort to give back to that community, Wathina said her family began working with the Pork Council. Chuck became involved in the 90s and then Wathina followed in his footsteps. One of their sons has picked up where Wathina left off and is now involved with okPork.
That involvement at the state level later catapulted Wathina into service on the national level as a member of the Pork Board. She is now serving her second term in that capacity as one of the board’s 15 members appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
“To say this is an honor would really be short-selling it,” Chuck said. “It goes beyond being an honor and I just really appreciate it. I am humbled that Wathina and I are even mentioned in the same breath as the kind of guys who have been inducted before us.”
You can listen to Ron Hay’s interview with Wathina Luthi by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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