As a Pipestone System shareholder you may be familiar with Terry Wolters as a man who has worn many hats within the System. A native of Washington state and an animal science graduate of Washington State University at Pullman, Terry spent many years with PIC in Kentucky, eastern Iowa, and South Dakota before moving to Pipestone in the mid-90s. At the invitation of Dr. Kennedy, he joined the Pipestone System in November 1997 and has worn several hats for the past 14½ years. Terry has worked as production director, system coordinator, and he currently manages the System grow-finish pig flow and sells its market hogs.
You may not know of Terry’s involvement in advocating for and promoting Minnesota pork production. Over the past eight years, Terry has served on the Minnesota Pork Producers Association state board (2003-2011) and as board president (2009-2010).
Currently, Terry educates and advocates for Minnesota pork through his:
- Relationships with legislators, both state and national.
- Role on the National Pork Board’s domestic marketing committee.
- Activity as “grill master” at events promoting Minnesota Pork.
Satisfied consumer walks away with a
good impression of Minnesota pork.
“We’re living in very challenging times for our industry,” says Terry. “There is going to be pressure for increased regulations from the environmental side as well as animal welfare. It’s important that producers take an active role in educating our legislators and the public about what we do and why we do what we do as an industry.”
When legislation affecting free trade, animal rights, or environment is under consideration, it’s important that you already have a relationship with the members of Congress or Senate who represent you. “If they know you, they’ll take time to sit down and talk about what’s important to you,” he states. “You can be sure that Congressman (Collin) Peterson wants to hear what the pork producers in his district are saying. Maintaining that relationship assures your issues will be considered.”
Educating the public is very important. “We can raise the grandest pork in the world, but if we don’t have a demand for it, we’re out of business,” says Terry, noting that pork is the meat of choice globally, but that is not the case in the U.S. “We’ve got to increase consumption in the U.S., and one way to do that is
by grilling events.”
Right to left, Jake Storm and Terry
Wolters grill 300 lbs of pork samples in
two hours at Target Field.
Terry is actively involved as a “grill master” in a wide variety of events, from grilling chops for 750 and ribs for 500 at last year’s Pipestone County Fair to grilling and handing out samples of pork during a two-day Minnesota Twins promotion at Target Field in 2011. “We prepare pork correctly,” says Terry, “and when you prepare and serve it correctly to the public, they say ‘I’ve never had pork like this!’ It is my mission to teach every person to cook pork perfect.”
“What it boils down to is this,” says the grill master of his passion for promoting the product he produces. “We need to be proud of the business we’re in and fight for what we have.” According to Terry, the animal welfare debate is pushed by a small percentage of the population, but the ramifications of only one side of the story being heard are huge. “Our license to operate as an industry is being evaluated,” he states. “Failure to stand up and speak out will result in someone else deciding our future.”
“If we don’t tell our story, no one is going to tell it for us,” Terry concludes.