Keith Reiner was a product of inner city Pittsburgh, Pa., with 50 row houses on his block and another 50 on the next.
There was no farm in his neighborhood.
For 35 cents Keith and buddy Charlie Myers would hop on the 91A bus going deep into downtown, jump off near what is now the Roberto Clemente bridge, hawk Pittsburgh Steelers tickers outside Three Rivers Stadium for a scalper, get a couple of the leftovers near game-time and take a seat to watch Terry Bradshaw on one side of the ball and Mean Joe Greene, one fourth of the Steel Curtain, on the other side.
By 18, he was in the Navy and spent 15 of the next 21 years at sea or overseas.
The only thing Keith knew about pork was that he loved ribs along with a pretty good scoop of macaroni and cheese on the side.
The closest he’d ever been to swine was the porcelain bank of the edge of his dresser and Porky Pig on the family Magnavox TV.
So how in the world did he land as president of the Pork Council in Oklahoma, a state with more than 2 million hogs and pigs?
The 54-year-old, who still sports a sharp Navy haircut, grins and takes a big bite out of that question – every time it’s asked.
Today, Reiner is 14 years into a career with HANOR/Roberts Ranch: hired as a maintenance supervisor at the Roberts Ranch at the Ames, Okla., site and now a project manager serving both the Ames and Mooreland sites in Oklahoma.
The HANOR family of companies is one of the nation’s premier pork producers. Featuring operations in various states with more than 500 employees, HANOR has grown to be a world- class leader in pork production.
“I think what I brought to the job was the same thing I think I brought to the Oklahoma Pork Council: a different perspective,” Reiner says. “I look at things in a different way than anybody in agriculture looks at it, because I’m a city boy.”
He adds, “We’re food producers. We’re a food company. And, especially nowadays, people want to know where their food comes from. We have to voice our opinion and show people the science behind what we do, because they don’t care that you got up at 3 o’clock in the morning to do this or that. They want safe and affordable food.
We have to show them that we’re producing just that.”
Commitment to the Industry
“The first part of my adult life I spent defending our country, the world and the constitution of this country,” Reiner says. “Basically, I’m spending the second part of my life feeding my country and the world.”
This product of the inner city is now as big a fan of agriculture and rural life as they come. Reiner appreciates that the board of the Pork Council has found a place for him, a city boy, right along side those who have grown up on farms their whole lives and others who have been in the industry for a couple of decades. It’s diversity with a common goal.
“You’ve got people who work for all these different companies, and we sit around one table and we all get along. We’re all friends,” Reiner says. “All of us on the council all have one concern, and that’s to make Oklahoma the best place in the country to raise to raise pigs.”