July 2009 is when Justin Wiley, fondly referred to as “Buck,” stepped in to help his good friend, Chase Floyd, in the cutting room at White Oak Pastures’ red meat abattoir. Buck’s career began when he was hired as a butcher at White Oak Pastures. The company grew, and grew quickly. Buck states he “learned the ins and outs of the red meat plant and was promoted to Beef Plant Manager. It wasn’t an easy process at all, but I’m most proud of that accomplishment.”
“I’m responsible for lining up cattle to be processed from our producer group, based on the orders received for different beef items or whole cows for the week.” Buck also manages thirty- eight employees and thirty-five cattle each day. “I love going home each day knowing we have produced a safe, wholesome product that will be in consumers’ possession in less than a week. It’s challenging to keep everyone on task to complete the daily job; however, they get it done.” Every. Single. Day. That takes a team that works together, which is exactly what they do.
One interesting fact is that the employees in the cutting room have always listened to music while butchering to help pass the time. Each had their own earphones and listened to their preferred music while trying to keep the pace congruent. It was decided that a sound system would be installed so that they would all be listening to the same music. They take turns choosing the music for the day and everyone hears the same music, same beat, same tempo, and now works at the same pace. This small change helps the men and women in the cutting room move production along smoothly. Buck describes White Oak Pastures as “unique. Everyone here has a job they are good at and I feel that I am in the best position that fits me. So, I wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone, really. At the end of the day, reviewing the production reports to make sure that we have filled all of the orders is one of my favorite things to do.”
“I love being in the country and in the middle of nowhere, even though the gnats and mosquitos are the worst part of living here.” But, at the end of the day, when the production reports are done, Buck doesn’t have to travel far to be with his family. Buck is a resident in downtown Bluffton! When Buck isn’t working, he loves fishing offshore, but even that is second to Amber, and their son, Jace (pictured above).