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Agricultural News

Joe Neal Hampton Among Those Honored by Oklahoma Pork Industry at 2015 Pork Congress

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:23:53 CST

Joe Neal Hampton Among Those Honored by Oklahoma Pork Industry at 2015 Pork Congress The 2015 Oklahoma Pork Congress included recognition of a pork industry legend, a lawmaker supportive of the ag community, a businessman who has been a friend of the pork business and a ag industry leader who has often had the back of the pork producers of Oklahoma at the state Legislature, as well as at the local level.

The four awards handed out by the Oklahoma Pork Council were presented to the following individuals:

Betty Baker, who was inducted into the okPORK Hall of Fame;

State Representative Lee Denny, who received the okPORK Legislative Leader Award;

Randy Byford, who received the okPORK Ambassador Award and

Joe Neal Hampton, who received the okPORK Distinguished Service Award.

Here are profiles of the four award winners that were saluted by the pork industry Friday during the 2015 Oklahoma Pork Congress:

"Betty Baker was the first female to be elected to the okPORK Board of Directors and ultimately the first woman to serve as an officer," said okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. "As I was learning what to do as a new association executive how to manage the budget and how to do those things Betty had a very calming effect on the Board."

One might believe for these reasons alone Betty Baker should be inducted into the Oklahoma Pork Council Hall of Fame. She will be inducted posthumously as the 2015 okPORK Hall of Fame inductee, but for so many more reasons than simply being the first woman to be a part of the Board of Directors.

"She was a great ambassador and a great leader for the industry at a time when it really needed leadership and it needed a kind of persona," okPORK member Rick Maloney said. "She really believed in small business and the importance of small business in the community. She wasn't just a person who talked about things she DID things and was engaged in the community."

Another shining example of Betty's dedication to the pork industry was apparent in the way she took care of the natural resources in her care. She was recognized as both an Oklahoma and National Environmental Steward.

"She thought stewardship was an everyday thing," Maloney said. "It was how you should run your business being a good steward of the land and taking care of the environment as well as taking care of your people and taking care of your animals."

Betty chose to serve as the face of the pork industry in multiple ways throughout her time raising pigs. Perhaps the obvious way she served in this role was when she agreed to do commercials for okPORK to run on television and in print ads across the state.

"Those commercials were important to her showing the fact that this was a growing industry, this was a good industry it creates jobs," Brian Baker, Betty's husband, said. "She was a believer in letting the world know that the pork industry was here to stay and it was doing good things."

Betty continues to inspire people to work harder to be stewards of the land, pillars in the community and spokespeople for the industry. Brian says that if she were here today and receiving this award herself that she would be happy and excited. He shed more light on the topic when he said beyond the well-deserved recognition for her work and achievements, in the end it would help to elevate the entire industry.

"She was a representative for the industry everywhere and was a tremendous example for all of us about how to represent yourself professionally, how to represent your business, your industry and no one did that better than Betty did," Lindsey said.


In 2010, the Oklahoma Pork Council established the Outstanding Legislator Award to honor members of the Oklahoma legislature for supporting Oklahoma's pork industry. This year's honoree is Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing. She was instrumental in helping okPORK remove restrictions on water permits for swine farms.

On several previous occasions, okPORK had introduced legislation to remove restrictions on water permits and had always run into opposition from the Methodist Church due to an old swine farm license application near a Methodist church camp.

"Her leadership brought representatives of the Methodist Church and the pork industry together and she helped broker an agreement that ultimately the church could live with and removed restrictions on water permits," said okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. "We had worked on this issue for many years before we asked her for help and she provided just the leadership we needed to get a deal done. Most likely, we would not have been able to remove the water permit setbacks without her help."

In addition to helping with the water permit legislation, her experience as a veterinarian has uniquely qualified Denney to speak out about animal rights legislation among her peers.

Denney began her service in the State House of Representatives in 2005. She is just beginning her final two-year term in the House and will serve as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma House of Representatives this session.


It is true many people and companies have been involved in the support of Oklahoma's pork industry and the Oklahoma Pork Council, however, few have been as dedicated in their support of Oklahoma's pork farmers as Randy Byford.

Byford owns Byford Buick GMC in Chickasha and Duncan. He is an alumnus of Oklahoma State University and is very involved in OSU sports. Randy is also dedicated to serving the local communities where his stores are located as well as across the state.

"I first met Randy when he called us to ask how Byford Auto Group could help promote okPORK," said okPORK Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. "He said he raised hogs earlier in his life and knew hog people were good people. He cold-called okPORK to discover how he could help and then immediately joined okPORK as an associate member He has been instrumental in bringing the Bacon & Bourbon event to Gaillardia Country Club the past two years both through contacts at the club and through financial support."

There are no words to fully convey the appreciation of okPORK for our friends but each year there is the chance to select someone to thank and honor. okPORK is glad to say thank you to Byford.

On February 27, Randy Byford will be honored with the okPORK Ambassador Award for his support of Oklahoma's pork industry. The Ambassador Award is presented to those who do not work directly in pork production but support it through their careers or participate in advocating for the industry on their own.


After more than 15 years of advocating for the Oklahoma agricultural industry Joe Neal Hampton has been honored with the okPORK Distinguished Service Award.

Joe Neal Hampton spent some tough years advocating for Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Legislature. When the regulations of the late 90s took effect and stopped expansion of Oklahoma's pork industry and Roberts Ranch began to have troubles with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Hampton was hired to help.

"Joe Neal helped us with things dealing with the legislators in our area and our county commissioners with our roads," said Jeff Mencke, Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma's sow production manager. "It was a very beneficial relationship from that standpoint. In our area it was very important that we continue to build relationships with the people that were influential and could get the word out that we are a good company and do the right thing."

Not only does Hampton give thanks for his mentors, but people give thanks to him for helping them to learn more about how to deal with people. His ease of conversation helped others to learn to talk to people in the same fashion.

"What I learned from Hampton was that a natural style and ease of dealing with people was more beneficial than the so-called hard sell," Mencke said.

Throughout the years that Hampton worked with Roberts Ranch and with the pork industry in Oklahoma, he continued to be helpful with issues throughout agriculture. He continued to attempt to bring the different agricultural sectors together and he believed in seeing the different agricultural groups supporting each other.

"I am very honored," Hampton said. "I am very humbled. It's hard to imagine the industry folks thought that much of me. I just really can't believe it. And I appreciate it."



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