Just as the average fan doesn’t know the true identity of his or her favorite mascot, Kenny Brinker prefers to work behind the scenes and close to home, leaving a place in the spotlight for others. He happiest when he’s working at home, and the farm is as much a vocation as it is an avocation. Still, he knows it’s important for producers to promote their product, and he’s more than willing to do his part.

Don Nikodim at the Missouri Pork Producers Association recognized Brinker as a leader long ago, and wanted him to get more involved in the organization. But being front and center isn’t Brinker’s inclination. He appreciates the men and women who go on the trips to lobby in Washington or promote pork but that “isn’t his thing.” He told Nikodim, though, “If you need anything done here in Missouri, I’m happy to help. Anything I can do to help promote agriculture from my farm, I’m happy to do.”

The Mo. Department of Agriculture and pork producer groups took him up on that offer. The farm is well-kept and environmentally friendly, having won the Environmental Stewardship award given by the National Pork Board in 2006.

The Brinkers hosted a 12-person delegation from China, including top feed mill manufacturers.

A tour group with 20-plus visitors from Denmark visited in May. Brinker explains the Mo. Department of Ag called and the same people who organized a previous group wanted to bring another group in. Last year the farm hosted about 50 farmers from Brazil.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources sent a group of employees out for a tour of the hog farm and a training session last summer.

Mascots Welcome
Last summer, the St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot Fredbird visited the farm.

“We gathered a bunch of mascots from ag entities in Missouri: a cow, a pig, an ear of corn, and a soybean and they put on promotions for the Cardinals with Fredbird.”

Brinker is happy to do anything he can to promote agriculture – as long as it’s on his farm.

“When we got the Environmental Stewardship Award from in 2006, we had to fly out to southern California to receive it. I wasn’t too thrilled about the trip but the family thought it was a lot of fun.”

That’s OK. The need for people like Kenny Brinker in the industry will never go away