Selecting and Preparing Gilts for Success | Ron Ketchem


About the Guest

Ron Ketchem graduated from the University of Missouri in 1973 with a BS in Animal Science and master studies in Reproductive Physiology and Animal Breeding. He worked 12 years for a genetic company in production, sales, and marketing and developed their AI program. He then spent 15 years in Indiana with a major feed company as a Swine Consultant providing technical support and training. Ron later purchased Swine Management Services, LLC in August 2002 with Mark Rix. SMS was sold on September 30, 2019 to MetaFarms, a sow record-keeping company in Minnesota. Today, Ron consults with over 400,000 sows in the US, Canada, and Australia. Ron has been married to his wife Pam for 36 years and has 3 grown sons.

Show MoreSelecting and Preparing Gilts for Success | Ron Ketchem

The Evolution of Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) and the Dawn of Prop 12 | Robert Drew


About the Guest

Robert Drew has well over 3 decades of experience that he brings with him to MAXIMUM AG in both Outdoor and Indoor sow production on a large scale. Along with establishing on-farm Quality Management Programs and Independent Consulting roles, Drew’s knowledge of group housing is a great addition for MAXIMUM AG and its customers. His first exposure to ESF technology was more than 30 years ago in the UK. More recently he has worked with many of the other group feeding systems in the US as the industry started to adapt to the European way of thinking.

Show MoreThe Evolution of Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) and the Dawn of Prop 12 | Robert Drew

Powering the Future of the Swine Industry | TJ Klith


About the Guest

TJ Klith is a project designer and member of the solar business development team for Trusted Energy out of Storm Lake, Iowa. He is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) as a Photovoltaic (PV) Installation Professional. He has been involved in the design and/or installation of over a hundred solar energy systems for swine production facilities. TJ believes that solar energy and energy storage systems will play a key role in the future of the commercial swine industry, as the means to increase profitability by significantly reducing the electrical costs that are associated and necessary with swine production operations. In addition to the financial benefits that customers experience, he is also excited to part of an industry that is helping to make great strides toward sustainability and carbon reduction around the world. 

Show MorePowering the Future of the Swine Industry | TJ Klith

Food: The Fantastic and Underutilized Role of Pork | Vivian Howard


About the Guest

Vivian Howard is an award-winning cookbook author, TV personality, chef, and restaurateur. Her first cookbook, Deep Run Roots: Stories & Recipes from My Corner of the South (2016), is a New York Times bestseller and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She created and stars in public television shows Somewhere South and A Chef’s Life, for which she has won Peabody, Emmy and James Beard awards. Vivian runs the restaurants Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, NC; Benny’s Big Time in Wilmington, NC; Handy & Hot and Lenoir (opening December 2020) in Charleston, SC. In October 2020, Vivian released her second cookbook, This Will Make It Taste Good: A New Path to Simple Cooking.

Show MoreFood: The Fantastic and Underutilized Role of Pork | Vivian Howard

The Importance of Self-Examination of Goals and Processes for Decision-Makers | Jay Goodwin


About the Guest

Jay has over 35 years of programming experience across a variety of domains including embedded systems, network appliances, industrial automation, Unix-based servers, as well as stand-alone applications. He also has extensive experience in both product design and system-level design and architecture for both new and legacy systems. He’s had key roles in nine startups resulting in four acquisitions of $100M+ and one IPO, and has been directly involved in numerous other startups as well as established companies in a variety of industries. Currently, he serves on the advisory boards of several companies, works with investment funds to companies under consideration for addition to their portfolios, and provides consulting for a select clientele. 

Show MoreThe Importance of Self-Examination of Goals and Processes for Decision-Makers | Jay Goodwin

Maintaining a Sow’s Condition During Lactation | Todd Heisterkamp


About the Guest

Todd Heisterkamp was raised in a multi-generational farm family in western Iowa. Being a young man witnessing the struggles of his family during the fuel crisis of the late 1970s and the farm crisis of the early 1980s, Todd decided to choose an education and career path outside of agriculture. After having a successful 20-year career in business development and in manufacturing management in other industries, Todd joined the equipment-side of the pork industry 15 years ago… rediscovering his ag roots.

Show MoreMaintaining a Sow’s Condition During Lactation | Todd Heisterkamp

Chasing Fostering Excellence | Mike Ellis


About the Guest

Mike Ellis was born and brought up in a coal mining village in the north of England.  He obtained B.S. (in Agriculture) and Ph.D. (in Applied Swine Genetics) degrees from the Department of Agriculture at the University Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where from 1978 he held the position of Lecturer in Pig Production.  He moved to the University of Illinois in 1992 where his current position is Professor of Swine Production Management.  Dr. Ellis’ research interests span a range of areas related to applied swine production with a particular focus on managing the growth of pigs in wean-to-finish facilities, animal handling and transportation, pre-weaning mortality, and pork quality.   He has advised over 60 students for MS and/or Ph.D. degrees and has published over 180 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 300 abstracts, and in excess of 300 occasional publications and reports, and has given presentations at over 250 scientific and producer meetings worldwide.  

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Venture Capital and its Critical Role in Livestock Production and Animal Health | Kevin Lockett


About the Guest

Kevin brings nearly 20 years of experience in financing, managing, growing, and investing in early-stage companies.

Kevin brought his operational expertise in managing and growing other organizations to the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) in 2013 as its Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer where he oversaw all financial, human resource, information technology, and legal aspects of the organization. Kevin’s major focus was on the daily management of the organization’s assets which included real estate, limited partner positions in venture funds, and direct equity positions in early-stage animal health, agriculture, and human health companies. His extensive experience in finance and growing early-stage companies also helped prepare the KBA’s portfolio investment companies for future acquisition.

Show MoreVenture Capital and its Critical Role in Livestock Production and Animal Health | Kevin Lockett

Equipping the Team for Optimizing Performance | Jon Hoek


About the Guest

Jon Hoek grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL, and was inspired to Agriculture by his Grandpa.  He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Production Management in 1986.  From 1987 to 1997 he owned and operated a 550-sow farrow to finish swine operation. Jon finished a 20-year career with Belstra Milling in 2017 to start a technology company focusing on precision livestock farming and human capital.  Jon has presented both internationally and domestically on the topic of pig production, systems management, and barn culture.  Jon and his wife Laureen have four children and two grandchildren and reside in Wheatfield, IN. 

Show MoreEquipping the Team for Optimizing Performance | Jon Hoek