QUASQUETON – Kathy Wulfekuhle was raised on a dairy farm, but she has been a pork producer for 42 years – since getting married in 1979 and moving to Monti with her husband Al. Now living near Quasqueton, she and Al own and operate G&W Pork, an 1,800-sow, farrow-to-finish operation that markets 45,000 pigs annually. They also raise corn and soybeans, run their own feed mill, and transport their pigs.
At the 2021 Iowa Pork Congress held in late January, Kathy was recognized for all of her efforts promoting pork and pig production in the state, as well as providing leadership to her county organizations. She was awarded the Iowa Pork Producers Association State Belle Ringer Award.
“It was a very nice surprise,” she said.
At the local level, Kathy has been involved with the Buchanan County Pork Producers (she received the Buchanan County Belle Ringer Award last year), and has opened the farm to tours for grade school students. In addition, she and Al have hosted local officials and urban consumers interested in learning more about pork production. She has organized numerous pork promotions at the local Fareway, helped with the Pork Producer food booth and hog show at the county fair, and at local high school football games. She also has organized the county pork queen contest for many years.
At the state level, Kathy has served on the State Youth Committee which oversees various events and programs, including the Iowa Lawn Party during Winefest Des Moines, the Iowa State Fair farrowing display, Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team, Swine Spectacular, and the Pig to Plate Adventure.
Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team
The Youth Leadership Team contest includes interviews, speech presentations, and knowledge of pork and pig production. Previous community involvement and experience are also considered. The top female contestant is crowned Pork Queen, and the top remaining contestants, male or female, are named Youth Ambassadors. The 2021 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team includes Iowa Pork Queen Leah Mareko of Riverside and Youth Ambassadors Paige Dagel of Sanborn and Reagan Gibson of Panora.
The Swine Spectacular is an annual pork education event for any youth age 8 to 18. Attendees can earn points for prizes by participating in photo and essay entries, swine judging, a skill-a-thon, a written test, and by attending a workshop. The Swine Spectacular is held before the ISU Block & Bridle Club’s annual Spring Market Hog Show. The 2021 Swine Spectacular, scheduled for Feb. 27, has been postponed until later in the year.
Pig to Plate Adventure
In the fall, a two- or three-day event for high school students in 4-H or FFA is the Pig to Plate Adventure. Kathy said it is held in cooperation with Iowa State University, where tours are given of research facilities and commercial pig farms. Other events include manufacturing demonstrations, discussions about pork industry careers, and hands-on cooking classes.
This year, with COVID concerns, the event went “virtual” in nature with several videos available for students to watch. There was also a Grocery Store/Recipe Challenge where students received a $10 coupon to buy pork and created their own recipe. Students submitted a video of their trip to the grocery store, prepping/cooking their dish, and a photo of the final dish.
Other county winners of the State Belle Ringer award are Becky Sexton, Rockwell City – Calhoun County; Sharon Koopmann, Manchester – Delaware County; and Sterling Meyer, Le Mars – Plymouth County.