2023 Neil Dierks Scholarship

The National Pork Industry Foundation (NPIF) is pleased to announce the 2023 Neil Dierks Scholarship, which is sponsored by the National Pork Industry Foundation and is managed and administered by the National Pork Producers Council.

One $5,000 scholarship
is annually awarded to a student who intends to pursue a career in the pork industry with hopes that they may emerge as a future pork industry leader.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  1. Be a current or (applied for acceptance) graduate student in a swine program.
  2. Write a brief letter indicating what role the applicant sees themselves playing in the pork industry after their graduate program degree.
  3. Submit an essay of 750 words or less describing an issue the applicant sees confronting the pork industry today or in the future, including offering their solutions and their role in the pork industry.
  4. Obtain two letters of reference from current or former professors or industry professionals.
  5. Prepare a cover sheet with the following information:
    1. Name of Applicant
    2. Name of School that you completed under graduate degree/degree title.
    3. Name of school enrolled for Graduate work
    4. Contact Information (home and school mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address)

Essays will be judged based on clarity and expression, persuasiveness, originality, and relevance of topic. The recipient of the Neil Dierks Scholarship will be announced at the National Pork Industry Forum. NPIF  reserves the right to publish any or all parts of the essays submitted.


Please download an application and email it to vanvarkj@nppc.org, or mail materials in a single envelope to:

National Pork Producers Council
ATTN: Neil Dierks Scholarship
P.O. Box 10383
Des Moines, IA 50306-9960


All entries must be sent by December 31, 2022 to be accepted. Please contact Janine Van Vark, NPPC Director of Outreach Marketing, with any questions about the scholarship at 515-645-9658 or via email at vanvarkj@nppc.org.

Neil Dierks headshot

The Neil Dierks Scholarship

For more than 30 years, Neil Dierks devoted himself to the well-being of U.S. pork producers. As CEO of the National Pork Producers Council, he encouraged, challenged, supported and equipped members as they advocated for opportunities in trade as well as reasonable regulation. In times of trial and triumph, Neil provided insight born from experience as well as study. His servant’s heart and the tenacity necessary to ensure success combine to benefit producers of all sizes and philosophies. Above all, Neil nurtured leadership for the pork industry, seeking out and elevating talented persons with a variety of skills to serve as resources and decision-makers for today and tomorrow.

Neil’s 2021 retirement created an opportunity to honor his contribution to the U.S. pork industry and legacy as a leader, through the Neil Dierks Scholarship.

— The National Pork Industry Foundation Board