National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, who is a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska, outlines the 2018 Pork Industry Scholarship program. Twenty-one college students have been awarded these scholarships. O’Neel says this is the Pork Checkoff’s investment in human capital.
Terry O'Neel, President National Pork Board and Pig Farmer from Friend, NE, National Pork Board
Don Wick: 00:04 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines, Iowa, this is Pork Pod. Pork Pod a look at the hot topics in today’s Pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff and today our guest is Terry O’Neel, who is president of the National Pork Board, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. The Pork Checkoff has awarded 21 new scholarships to college students. This is part of the Pork Checkoff strategy to invest in human capital developing future leaders for the pork industry. Terry, let’s start there. Tell us about these scholarships and why the Pork Checkoff is involved.
Terry O’Neel: 00:42 OK. We have a scholarship program, put out the National Pork Board every this year from 15 different states and we basically target students that are going to further their education, whether it be in veterinary medicine or something to do with pork production. It could be research. It could be swine nutrition. It could be anything to do with pork. We want to help those students further their education.
Don Wick: 01:11 So why does the Pork Checkoff making investment in this is pretty significant when you look at the numbers that we’re talking about here.
Terry O’Neel: 01:18 Yeah, it is, um, we were giving out the two top recipients are $5,000 and $3500 and then everyone else will receive a $2,000 scholarships. So it’s in the tens of thousands of dollars, but we know we need to make an investment or young people because they’re going to be our future for our industry and it’s exciting to see that we do have people there are still looking forward to getting into agriculture, particularly pork production or pork research or a swine nutrition research or becoming a veterinarian. And we do need a lot of more interest in large animal practices. So we’re excited about having people that are looking at that again and because in the past a lot of other veterinarians have been going into the small animal practice and we need to refill those vacancies that void we have for large animal veterinarians.
Don Wick: 02:18 Tell me about the need for human capital and how do programs like this help us move forward?
Terry O’Neel: 02:28 Well, whenever you offer scholarships to help those people out to pursue areas, they want to go into me. If those aren’t available, there’s going to be much more difficult. I mean it’s a common to know that a lot of these students coming out of college have tremendous amounts of debt and this just kind of helps them make their decisions and helps them move along into areas that we would like to focus on a particular pork production and pork research in the veterinary medicine field. So it’s just doing our part to help ensure that we have a new people and young faces involved in agriculture and particularly in pork production. We’re also doing something. I’m setting up something as far as the Ag Economics scholarship or to help provide financial assistance for those going into, the economics of agriculture or particularly in a meat sciences or the meat businesses such as beef and pork. And we want, we want those, a economist to be there in the future because if you look at her calmness we have in right now these guys were getting a little gray hair and we need to refill the pipeline. So we’re going to be doing that too. So you’ll see that coming.
Don Wick: 03:56 Terry O’Neel, president of the National Pork Board. Thank you for listening to this addition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.