Small Town Values at a Big Company

Posted by Monica Hoel
Adam Walters (E&H ’04) says his company, Tosh Pork, understands the importance of putting people first.

When COVID-19 began to shut down businesses, Adam Walters says his company jumped in right away to look after their employees. Because Tosh Pork is part of the food supply chain, their employees are considered essential, so they’re still working but they are taking measures to keep employees safe. “We’re limiting our face-to-face meetings, we’ve closed the main office and the parts department to reduce foot-traffic, and we encourage our employees to follow stay-at-home protocols when they’re not at work.”

The company is taking extra measures to directly support their employees – understanding that they are the company’s greatest resource. They’ve given gift cards to their 70 truck drivers because they know the health crisis has made it harder to find restaurants open, and he says that he and other managers jumped in recently to personally cook 500 Boston Butts to give to every one of their 425 employees and neighbors.

Adam says their business has been impacted over the past few weeks because the largest portion of their products are sold to restaurants. But because the company is diversified, Adam knows that Tosh will weather this storm.

Adam is the Swine Finishing Manager at Tosh Farms, and he’s proud of the company’s role in providing food for the country (they are the largest pork producer in Tennessee and the 30th largest in the U.S.). He’s proud of their innovations and environmental techniques, like their unique approach to recycling manure. They also have a unique approach to feeding their pigs: “We work with a set of companies that will sell us by-products that would otherwise end up in landfills, and we feed it to the pigs. Sometimes it’s candy bars or peanut butter…one time we ended up with a tractor trailer full of snack cakes that were past their sell-date.”

Headquartered in Henry, Tennessee, Tosh Pork also understands their important role in a small community. Adam says the Tosh family understands and values the way a small town works, and they seek to support their neighbors, especially during this crisis. “We have asked our managers to provide a weekly meal for all employees – from a local restaurant – where we foot the bill and leave a 50% tip.” Because the company always practices strict bio-security, they also had supplies they could donate to the local hospital. “We’ve given them a lot of the gloves, masks and white suits that we use daily in our facilities.” When they had to cancel an FFA event, they suddenly had 1000 bags of pork rinds on their hands: those were donated to a local elementary school for their backpack meals. Tosh is also giving 10,000 pounds of bacon to give to their employees and 10,000 pouds of bacon to the local food bank.

Adam says he learned a lot about supporting the community at Emory & Henry. “I had faculty members there who showed interest in me and cared about my future. From professors like Dr. Jack Roper, Dr. John Morgan, and Jim Harrison I learned about how to train and mentor and care for people. I’m from Seymore, Tennessee, but Emory is home.”

  • Adam Walters, E&H Class of 2004, Swine Finishing Manager at Tosh Farms.

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