Once again, the Kentucky Pork Producers Association sponsored the State Swine Production Proficiency Award at the Kentucky FFA State Convention in June.
According to the National FFA Organization, “Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through their supervised agriculture experiences [projects], have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Students can compete for awards in 49 areas covering everything from Agricultural Communications to Wildlife Management.”
This year’s Swine Production winner was George Bittel from the Owensboro Catholic FFA Chapter.
Bittel operates George Bittel Show Pigs, a 40 sow show pig operation in Owensboro. Bittel says his primary duties consist of genetic selection, breeding and care of the sows and weanling pigs. Bittel sells most of his show pigs to other 4-H and FFA members in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
“Pork has been a part of my family for many years,” said Bittel, “We recently found a picture of my great-great-grandfather herding pigs in Germany!”
George Bittel Show Pigs is a small part of Bittel Farms, a diverse farming operation owned by George’s father Tony and uncle Don. Bittel Farms also consists of 100 commercial sows, an Angus cow herd and wheat, soybeans, alfalfa, corn, and tobacco.
Bittel’s future plans include attending Murray State University with a double major of animal science and agriculture education. Ultimately he plans to return to the family farm and operate both the commercial and show pig herds.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of The Kentucky Pork Producer News. Article and photos by Celeste Harned of Celeste Communications.