Published 9:35 pm Monday, November 8, 2010
The big surprise for some folks who heard the news that Suffolk Planning Commission member Ritchie Jordan had been inducted into the Virginia Livestock Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 may well have been the simple fact that there is such an honor to be had.
Most people are familiar with the various Halls of Fame honoring sports stars at the national and at the state level and even right here in Hampton Roads. There’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in — for some obscure reason — Cleveland, Ohio. Other genres of music have similar ways of honoring the people whose names are so well associated with them.
So it is, perhaps, not all that surprising, after all, that farmers honor those among their ranks whose contributions to the industry have stood out from the rest. And, by all accounts, the contributions of Ritchie Jordan and his wife Millie to the hog farming industry have been vitally important to farmers around the nation.
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In 1994, the Pork Industry Hall of Fame inducted the pair, whom the National Pork Producers Council once dubbed the “first couple” of the pork industry for their efforts on behalf of pig farmers all over the United States. The advertising slogan “Pork: The other white meat,” for instance, was developed by a team that Ritchie Jordan helped choose while president of the council. And his wife, while president of the council’s auxiliary, testified before Congress about the importance of the pork industry.
The Jordans once raised nearly 2,500 pigs at a time on their Kings Fork Road farm. Today, the farm is gone, sold in 2002 as development moved in and equipment needed replacing or retiring. Now there are houses and a school near where the farm once operated.
When the farm closed, many in the community probably considered it a net positive, as the odor and noise associated with such an enterprise went away. For the pork industry, however, the loss of such dedicated private producers was a big blow. With a growing tendency toward corporate farms, the hog rearing industry needs folks like the Jordans. Suffolk can be proud to have called them its own.