Family: A 2-year-old daughter Ella
Hometown: Verdigris, Okla.
Town Life: “My dad, John, and his brother, Bill, started Walke Brothers Meat Company in Claremore, Okla., in 1996 with a custom processing business. I have worked here since I was 16 but seriously since I was 20. I have been manager for four years and now we have moved from state inspected to a full USDA inspected facility. We custom process, thermal process in a smokehouse built in 2001 and have expanded our facility to incorporate a retail venue as well as our wholesale market. We have cases of different sausages, both smoked and fresh, as well as steaks, smoked cheese, roasts and other meats. We have won more than 100 awards from the Oklahoma-Texas Meat Processing Association, and in 2014 and 2015 won national awards for our smoked snack sticks and andouille sausage.”
Country Life: “The business sits on seven acres where I raise Longhorns which are more pets than anything else. Last year I had nine and sold them all. I especially like raising the Longhorns from just weaned calves to adults up to 1,700 pounds. I used to breed them myself but time became a huge issue as the meat company expanded. I am planning on purchasing four new calves in November and increasing that number after deer season to a total of 10. I started with Holsteins, but they did not have the pet personality I was seeking. My typical buyer is someone I know who is seeking a herd ornament or pet. My calves are fed daily with creeper feed. Because of their purpose, they are treated more like show stock and pets than commercial stock, which includes frequent grooming, a process that relaxes me as much is them.”
Future: “I want to expand our wholesale business and products nationwide. I plan on keeping Longhorn sidelined as it is because it’s fun and personally rewarding but not where I see my short-term future. On the other hand, I’m a long ways from retiring and have no idea at this point what I will do when that time comes. I have always been around and loved animals.”