2013 December Seedstock EDGE - page 10

Mike Paul
CEO, National Swine Registry
Open Mike
NSR Editorial
Mr. Showpig
is title struck me last spring,
while I was introducing the NSR sta
during the Weanling Pig Extrava-
ganza. When I came to Ralph Doak,
it seemed to t like a glove. I have
been fortunate to work with Ralph
for the last 17 years, and honestly,
it seems like it was just yesterday.
Ralph might hold the title of the
longest-running eld sta person in the
purebred swine industry, well, at least
in modern history. Ralph was hired
by the United Duroc Swine Registry
(UDSR) in December of 1990. Since
that time, Ralph has been involved in
the promotion of purebred genetics
through di erent avenues, from serving
as a Duroc eld representative, to the
Genetics Outreach program and the past
19 years as a member of the National
Swine Registry eld sta . As you can
see, Ralph has adapted to many di er-
ent programs and procedures to provide
services to the NSR membership.
Over the years, there have been many
changes in the makeup of the purebred
swine industry, from each breed associa-
tion having their own separate o ce and
sta to the current structure of the NSR.
As I have mentioned previously, there
were some “turf wars” from the members
of their breed associations, and this in-
cluded the thought that each of the eld
sta members were not promoting their
respective breeds enough or maybe even
equally. Ralph stood strong in his belief
that the bene ts from the formation of
the NSR most certainly outweighed the
negatives, and he continually stressed
To contact Mike, use your smartphone to scan the code to the left or email him at
that to those who wanted to see the
glass half-empty rather than half-full.
During these times, the swine
industry experienced a huge swing in
pro tability. In late 1998, producers were
receiving 8 cents per pound for market
animals. at meant you were getting a
check for $20 for a 250 pound market
hog. Many commercial swine producers
left the industry, and the swine industry
became more industrialized. e cus-
tomer base for much of the NSR mem-
bership eroded. At this time, Ralph could
have thrown in the proverbial towel
and found a new career, but instead,
he sought opportunities to create new
segments in the purebred swine industry.
He encouraged many purebred breed-
ers to become active in the youth swine
programs throughout the United States.
Ralph traveled from the east coast shows
to the Southwest stock shows promoting
purebred swine and working with youth.
In the years following, Ralph worked
hard to assist members in promoting
their products through the spring show-
pig sale season. He did such a good job
helping breeders market their showpigs
that everyone wanted Ralph to be their
ring man for their sale. Ralph tried to
accommodate as many as possible and
many times would work a sale every
night during the week and two sales on
Saturday and even on Sunday. I know
that his wife, Becky, had to pick up many
of Ralph’s chores at home during the
month of April because he wouldn’t be
home for long stretches at a time. Ralph
worked with the Ohio breeders to estab-
lish the Ohio Barrow Boosters and was a
xture at National Junior Swine Associa-
tion (NJSA) events serving as a facilitator
in skillathon contests, a member of breed
eligibility committees and an announcer.
Following the 2013 Fall Clas-
sic, Ralph will retire as a eld sta
member of the NSR and will be
spending time antiquing and look-
ing for pottery with his wife, Becky. I
know he plans to travel and visit his
grandchildren on a regular basis.
Ralph Doak, I say thank you for
your e orts and your commitment
to the NSR and to the members of
NSR and NJSA. It was a great ride.
We wish you and your family God’s
blessings on the next era of your life.
“Ralph Doak, I say thank you for your efforts and your
commitment to the NSR and to the members of NSR
and NJSA. It was a great ride. We wish you and your
family God’s blessings on the next era of your life.”
10 • SEEDSTOCK EDGE
December 2013
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