February 28, 2018
Dear Berkshire Breeder,
The Board of Directors would like to take the opportunity to update you on recent board decisions.
Though the initial thought of change can be unsettling, the adjustments being implemented at the
American Berkshire Association are exciting and have been in the cultivation stage for some time.
The initial stimulant for such conversations was brought to the Board in August of 2017 by the Chief
Executive Officer. It was made aware to the Board that this employee was strongly considering seeking
other employment in the near future. In August, with limited time to respond, the Board made a
decision to stay true to the annual employee review calendar and make personnel adjustment decisions
at the December 2017 Board meeting.
As discussions transpired during the December 2017 Board meeting, it was reiterated to the Board by
the Chief Executive Officer that she was strongly considering an employment opportunity outside of the
American Berkshire Association. During these conversations, it was also brought to the Board’s
attention, by the Chief Executive Officer, that the outside job offer given to her was substantially more
appealing than the existing compensation package she had with the American Berkshire Association.
Additionally, it was made clear to the Board that the offer was extended to her from an industry partner
of the Association.
At that time, it became evident to the Board that change was in the near future for the American
Berkshire Association. The Board acknowledged the multitude of tasks that accompany a breed
association, which not only is the sole stand-alone major swine breed in the United States, but also is
the only swine breed that relishes a heightened level of exhibition popularity and industry leadership in
pork consumer appeal. Concurrently, American Berkshire Association members have shared major
challenges in marketing 100% pure Berkshire Pork®. Acknowledging the challenges and membership
interactions led the Board to believe that the association has not fully capitalized on the market
opportunities and subsequent untapped breed growth. In that conversation, the board was inevitably
assigned the mission of redeveloping the American Berkshire Association infrastructure.
With what was presented as a tremendous career opportunity for Amy Smith, the board rose to the
occasion of business planning. In that, it was recognized that an adjustment of American Berkshire
Association resources and a realignment of employee skill sets would be a natural evolutionary step in
updating the services and programs the Association provides to its diverse membership. Outlined in the
“Vision 2025” strategy, the Board unanimously agreed a year ago in December of 2016, to move forward
regarding the following three goals: 1) Operational Excellence; 2) Advance the Meat Program; and, 3)
Improve Marketing and Communications. With this professional approach, the Board is confident the
American Berkshire Association is staged to embrace current challenges and capitalize on future
The Board is proud to officially announce three new key components to the updated infrastructure. First
is Amy Smith’s acceptance of the Event Coordinator position. In this 50%-time role, she will be serving as
the lead coordinator for the Association at all national Berkshire shows. Additionally, this role is
responsible for assisting with Team Purebred events as needed and will be regularly reporting on
national Berkshire events in which attended.
The second update of the Association to report is the development of an Office Administrator position.
This position was upgraded from the current Office Assistant position. Katie Morgan has agreed to take
on more responsibilities and verbally accepted the promotion as Office Administrator. The Board is
pleased she will assume this position and is confident she will do an excellent job in providing office
support and services to members. Katie has been an employee of the Association for over a year with
positive employee reviews. The responsibilities of the Office Administrator are to manage the daily
operations within the office and keep accurate pedigree, membership, and financial records. As a
member, you can expect timely and professional services provided from the main office. Please help us
congratulate Katie on her promotion and continued professional growth in the Association.
Finally, the Board wants to share with you a newly approved position, Director of Berkshire Operations.
The successful Director of Berkshire Operations candidate will be responsible for the assignments
originally defined in the Association bylaws as the duties of the secretary/treasurer. Additionally, this
team leader will champion breed promotion, meat program growth, public communications and
This newly assembled infrastructure is solely geared to support the needs and future success of the
American Berkshire Association, its membership, and its employees alike. We welcome conversations
from membership as the association navigates through this time of transition.
American Berkshire Association, Board of Directors
Jeff Wippel, President
Adam Conover, Vice-President
Neil Knobloch, Executive Committee Member