LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For his 40 years serving U.S. pork producers, including 20 years as CEO of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and his dedication and countless contributions to the pork industry, Neil Dierks was inducted into the National Pork Industry Hall of Fame on March 10 at NPPC’s annual business meeting — the National Pork Industry Forum — held in Louisville.
Dierks, who retired in December 2021 after 31 years with NPPC, helped develop the organization that was born after the separation agreement that created the National Pork Board. He became the first CEO of the reconstituted NPPC.
Dierks started his career in the pork industry when he joined the Iowa Pork Producers Association in 1981 to manage the Iowa Pork Congress. He went on to head legislative state outreach for the organization. After leading field services and state legislative outreach for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Dierks joined NPPC in 1990 to manage World Pork Expo. Prior to becoming CEO, he also served as the organization’s director of operations, vice president of research and education, and senior vice president of programs.
Six months after NPPC and the industry’s checkoff were split into independent organizations, Dierks was recruited from the National Pork Board in 2001 to be CEO of NPPC, which had five employees, and World Pork Expo was its single source of revenue. He guided NPPC’s steady growth for the next two decades, expanding sources of revenue and establishing it as a highly effective and influential national advocacy organization critical to the profitable growth of U.S. pork producers.
“Neil is a giant in the pork industry. He was there at the beginning — after the separation agreement with the Pork Board — and he guided NPPC through good and not-so-good times over the past 20 years,” said outgoing NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “Neil has made countless lasting contributions to the U.S. pork industry and established NPPC as a top-tier advocacy organization and the global voice of the U.S. pork industry. If anyone deserves to be in the industry Hall of Fame, it’s Neil Dierks.”
— National Pork Producers Council