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RWHA Election and Candidates 2023

Ballots will be electronic. Look for ballots in your e-mail Thursday, November 16, 2023.
Meet the Candidates 2023

Secretary/Treasurer, two candidates

Jennifer Rafn
My name is Jennifer Rafn. I live in Taft Tennessee and my husband I own Pecan Hill Farms. We just began our farming adventures in July of 2022, so we’re pretty knew to this. My grandparents were farmers in Illinois. They grew corn on about 1000 acres and had about 300 hogs. I always loved being on the farm, even when grandpa made us work.
We actually got introduced to the red wattle breed when my husband attended a Farmer Veterans meeting and won 2 piglets. We’ve since purchased one more. We also have goats, cows, and chickens.
By day I work for a Medicare Advantage company. I work with business areas to help better their products or systems. I have a MBA from Trevecca University.
I also enjoy being outdoors, hiking, kayaking, gardening, and being with the animals. I also love baking and canning.

Nick Tank
I have been raising hogs most of my adult life. When I herd of red wattle, I was intrigued. Then I heard that they were on the endangered list. I was super interested. Then I heard about the possibility to being related to libero and was even more interested. Been raising pork for awhile now and have plans to pass down to my sons. Both Tony and Josh are highly involve in bringing RW to Montana. I’m 38 and I’m in school for my Nurse Practitioner. Been raising hogs most of my adult life. I have been enjoying the RWHA for some time and continue to do so! Just moved from the farm in Missouri to a much bigger place in Montana. Most people here have never even heard of RW! I suspect they are about to! I’m not 100% fully developed yet but in the next 2 years I’ll grow everything that my hogs need!
God bless,
Nick Tank

Members at Large, three candidates

Brittany Harper
My name is Brittany Harper and, along with my husband, Nathan, run Harper Valley Acres in Marshall, Texas. We have raised Red Angus cattle since 2014 and got into Red Wattle hogs in 2021.
Not many people can say a pork chop changed their life, but it did mine! I had no intention of pig farming until I had a Red Wattle pork chop in San Antonio and decided I needed to find a way to replicate it.
Both Nathan and I come from long lines of cattlemen (and one pig farmer!) and are proud to raise quality animals that produce quality meat (or other quality animals).

John Northrop
Fellow Red Wattle Association members, my name is Jonathan Northrop and I would appreciate the opportunity to represent you as one of the at large members of the board of directors.
For the last 20 years my wife Jen and I have made our living as full time farmers. For 17 years we operated a dairy farm that we started with 4 cows and grew to 240 cows. During that time I served on our small milk cooperatives board of directors for 15 years. Over those years I saw first hand, the strength of an organization is very much tied to the commitment of the directors and their willingness to listen to the input of the members.
The supply chain issues surrounding Covid forced us to make the difficult decision to exit the dairy business. Over the last three years, we have built a successful direct to consumer pasture based meat business, selling pork, beef and lamb. I became acquainted with Red Wattle pigs over this time and this year was able to add them to our herd. They have quickly become our favorite of all the breeds on the farm. In talking with many breeders of these exceptional pigs, all share the concern of preservation, promotion and continued improvement. I am confident that my experience over the last 20 years will be an asset to the organization as it faces the challenges of these objectives. Please allow me the opportunity to be your representative and voice for the coming year as one of the at large members of your association board of directors.

Thank you,
Jonathan Northrop
Northrop Farms

Chantal Mullen
I’ve had RWs for 2 years now and we’ve chosen to raise this breed for meat and breeding. We feature the RW on our TikTok page for education and when put on classes for our farm. I also teach meat processing, and castration classes. I am in the process of putting together an inspected mobile processing unit to service NC.


Canadian Report…..

I want to bring your attention to our Canadian members and breeders. Just got off the phone with Julia Smith. I also spoke with her earlier this summer. Julia has been a member of RWHA since 2019. For most of the summer her wells have been dry and still are. She has been having water shipped in all summer long. For winter she is going to ship her pigs out due to the lack of water.
Julia also talked a little about the need for new genetics. With the high cost of exporting pigs to Canada there hasn’t been any new genetics for many years. She said it’s staring to show in the legs of her pigs. I’m sure other Canadian breeders are in need of more diverse genetics as well.
RWHA has had five Canadian members over the years. The first joining in 2009. Julia is the only remaining current member.
Thank you, Julia, for your dedication and persistence.

Nominations for 2023 RWHA Elections

It’s Election Time!
The RWHA is looking for self motivated, committed members to fill open board positions.
The Secretary/Treasurer is open. The duties include keeping minutes of meetings and maintaining records. Treasurer is responsible for all accounts for the association. ( Term is for 3 years. 
At-large Board Members
Two at-large Board Member positions are open. The duties are to assist other officers as well as contributing to board discussions and decisions. Term is for 1 year.
Nominations are due by October 31. 2023 
Self Nominations are accepted!
Nominations can be sent to:
or mailed to:
RWHA Secretary 
5249 North Park Place NE #1030
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Please include a short introduction of your nominees.

Special Election News Update:

Bill Bottorff aka Kathy’s post in Facebook: Board and Members raised my curiosity. After about 6 hrs of researching Facebook posts and emails I have concluded that the remaining term of office is actually 1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks. This is the difference between the election date, July 17, 2023 and the end of the Presidents term, October 31, 2024.

  1. Joe McCabe took Office as President Nov. 1, 2021, term 3 yrs ends Oct. 31, 2024
  2. Joe McCabe announced resignation as President, February 19, 2022
  3. Marc Howe took office on or about April 30th, 2022
  4. Marc Howe resigns, April 18 2023
  5. Special Election July 17, 2023 term ending October 31, 2024


Special Election RWHA President

Members ONLY Special Election

A Special Election is required to fill the vacancy of President for the Red Wattle Hog Association. The vacancy was created April, 18 2023. The election will be to serve for the remainder of the term, approximately 2 ½ years.

RWHA Bylaws
Section E. Vacancies. A vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification or otherwise, may be filled by the remaining Board of Directors for the unexpired portion of the term choosing from within or from qualified membership by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. If a vacancy is created and the officer is not up for election in the next election cycle, a special election must be held to replace the vacant seat within 90 days of the vacancy. New offices may be created and filled at any meeting of the Board of Directors upon proper notice of a vote being distributed and upon majority vote of the Board of Directors at such a meeting.

The Special Election will be held by July 17, 2023 using electronic vote.
If you would like submit your name as a candidate, send a short bio to by July 11, 12pm.

RWHA Bylaws
Section F. President. The President shall be the principal executive officer of the Corporation and, subject to the general powers of the Board of Directors, shall in general supervise and control all of the business and affairs of the Corporation. The President shall, when present, preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors and shall in general perform all duties incident to the office of President and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Bylaws or by the Board of Directors from time to time.

Jim Myers
RWHA Board Member at Large

Way Out West

RWHA Newsletter
“Way Out West – July 2020”

“The RWHA has begun a project to transport registered or will be registered Red Wattles out west.” This was the headline and beginning of an article for the first attempt at an initiative to move genetics and Red Wattle pigs out west. There has been a lot of discussion and need to this day, but the move has really never got off the ground until this year.
A group of RWHA breeders have taken a big interest in sending pigs to the west this year. With the renewed concern and interest of these breeders for the preservation and growth of Red Wattle, the move west is going to happen. RWHA and these breeders are working together to co-ordinate the buyer/seller transactions, transportation and veterinary protocols to make this a safe and successful venture.
If you are interested in helping grow and preserve the Red Wattle but don’t have livestock to contribute, a donation to help defray the cost of transportation or health testing would be very helpful.
Your name will be included on a permanent “Web” plaque along with the names of the livestock contributors and recipients.
Please contact the RWHA Secretary for more details.
Mollie B. Smith-Steffey, Secretary
5249 North Park Place NE #1030
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Presidents update March 4, 2023

Hello everyone. I wanted to update some of what the board is working on. I have been talking with Doug at Mountain Niche. It has come to our attention that Doug has never been given a raise since he started with RWHA since it was created. This subject will be brought up at our next board meeting and the goal is to double his income per registration that is handled. This amounts to a $2.50 increase per handling. At the same time we expect to increase the handling rate by $2.50 to membership on each application and transfer to accommodate this increase as our rates to membership has also not increased and are on average less than many of the other heritage breeds. Along with this Doug has agreed to add a link for online membership application and payment, online registration applications and online transfers to the website. His goal is to have this complete by the end of March. All of this with a goal of a less than a month turnaround on paperwork. We feel this will be a great benefit to our membership and look forward to its completion. Any input is appreciated. Thanks
Marc Howe, President RWHA

Member Application Online

The RWHA continues to move forward. One of our goals has been to streamline member services. Beginning in February our Web Master will start working on an online fill-out form to apply for RWHA membership. It will ask for the same information as the current application and will include access to the Member Area and a payment option. This may take several revisions to get it right, so be patient please.  

Buyer Beware Epic Nature and Ryan Kolodziej Banned

What does this mean for people looking buy Red Wattle hogs and for those that already own Red Wattles?
If you purchase a Red Wattle from Epic Nature or Ryan the registration papers can not be transferred to you. You will own a pig that can not be registered. If you are just looking for a few pigs to raise for meat you might not think registration is important. For those who want to raise Red Wattles to help preserve and enhance a once dying breed then registration of hogs with the Red Wattles Hog Association is very important. Why does registration really matter? Please read this article from the Livestock Conservancy , Why Registration Matters.
If you are not familiar with or need refreshed on the events that led up to this ban and the consequences that may effect you, the time line and the associated articles are listed below.

  1. Membership Revoked September 9, 2022
  2. Impact on Registered Breeding Stock
  3. Epic Nature Flag Program November 18, 2022


Swine AI Simplified

Some have asked about AI. Here is a brief explanation of the supplies and procedure.

Supplies you will need:

  • 2 doses semen
  • 2 catheters
  • 1 tube non-spermicidal lube
  • Slightly wet/damp clean rag (no detergents or cleaners)

First step, if you are considering AI of your sow(s) or gilt(s), is to determine when their next heat will occur. You’ll have to observe them every day looking for signs of the onset of heat. Once signs of heat begin showing try putting back pressure on the pig with the palms of your hands as if the boar were mounting. If the pig “locks up” (stands rigid) she is in standing heat. Mark that day on a calendar. Do this procedure again to determine the number of days between standing heats. This is usually between 18 and 21 days. When the heat cycle is determined AI supplies can be ordered.

Ordering of the semen and supplies is done so that they arrive the day of expected heat or 1-3 days ahead. Just call the boar stud and let them know when the pig is expected to be in heat and they can determine the best delivery date.  Semen is shipped fresh not frozen, usually. Frozen swine semen loses about 50% of it’s motility compared to about 10% in fresh semen. Fresh semen will be viable for about 9 days if handled and stored properly. Keep the container the semen arrived in closed until ready for use. Store the container in a cool place, 61-65 F, 63 F is ideal. Gently turn the container over once each day to keep fresh extender around the spermatozoa.

When the day of insemination arrives and you’ve checked that the pig is in heat take one dose of semen, one catheter, lubricant and damp clean rag to the pig. Your job is to imitate the boar so she will stand and receive the AI. This may include back pressure, nudging flanks or vulva area and messaging udders.

First remove any debris from and near the vulva with the clean wet rag (no soap or cleaners, water only). Next put a generous amount of lubricant on the end of the catheter but do not cover the opening. Insert the catheter into the vulva at a slightly upward angle so you don’t hit the urethra. Push the catheter in until you feel some resistance and a little more. This will be 6 -12 inches depending on the size of the sow. The catheter will pop into place. Give a slight tug on the catheter. You should feel resistance again and the catheter should spring back in place. With the catheter inserted break the end off of the dose of semen. Turn the end of the catheter upward and insert the tip of the dose into end of the catheter. Gently and slowly give the dose bottle a squeeze only until the semen starts flowing into the sow. From this point back pressure, nudging flanks or vulva area and messaging udders may be used to keep her stimulated. During this time, she will have contractions to suck the semen out of the bottle. As the bottle collapses you may need to remove it and reinsert it to relieve some vacuum. Squeeze the bottle to start again.

When the bottle is empty or near empty leave the catheter raised for a minute. It’s now time to remove the catheter. Gently pull the catheter out. If the bottle is almost but not quite empty that’s ok. Also, some semen may run back out of the vulva, there shouldn’t be much.

Eighteen to 24 hrs. later the second dose will be administered.

For more information email: