NPPC Announces This Year’s Winners of Annual Scholarships at National Pork Industry Forum

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ORLANDO, FL, March 10, 2023 — The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) announced 12 scholarship winners today at its annual business meeting — the National Pork Industry Forum. The Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship and the Neil Dierks Scholarship were awarded to college students pursuing careers in the U.S. pork industry.

“We want to recognize these outstanding college students and their commitment to the U.S. pork industry,” said outgoing NPPC President Terry Wolters, a producer from Pipestone, Minnesota. “Through the Lois Britt and Neil Dierks scholarships, we are creating a talent pipeline for the next generation of industry leaders.”

The 2023 winners of the $2,500 Lois Britt Memorial Scholarship are:
• Kirby Cook, Iowa State University
• James DeRouchey, Kansas State University
• Joseph Halbur, South Dakota State University
• Molly Jones, North Carolina State University
• Leah Marek, Iowa State University
• Kyra Schenk, South Dakota State University
• Keegan Sheiss, Purdue University
• Karmen Sperr, South Dakota State University
• Elizabeth Staggs, Purdue University
• Elizabeth Thome, University of Minnesota

The Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship program, sponsored by CME Group and the National Pork Industry Foundation, is awarded to undergraduates in a two-year swine program or a four-year college of agriculture program. The scholarship program was introduced in 1990 and later renamed in 2006 in memoriam of Lois Britt, former NPPC board director. A lifetime supporter of agriculture, Britt spent 34 years with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and finished her career after 15 years with Murphy-Brown LLC (now Smithfield) doing public and government relations. She was inducted into the NPPC Pork Industry Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Pork Council Hall of Fame and was awarded the North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other achievements.

2023 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship winners

The 2023 winners of the $5,000 Neil Dierks Scholarship are:
• Grace Christensen of Iowa
• Caitlyn Wileman of Wisconsin

The Neil Dierks Scholarship, founded in 2021 and sponsored by the National Pork Industry Foundation (NPIF), is awarded to current or applied-for-acceptance graduate students in a swine program. Dierks served as NPPC’s CEO for 21 years. Retiring in December 2021 after 31 years with NPPC, Dierks 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. He was inducted into the NPPC Pork Industry Hall of Fame in 2022.

Scholarship applications for 2024 will open in November 2023.To learn more about the application process, visit

2023 Niel Dierks Scholarship winners

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The National Pork Industry Foundation is a 501(C)(3) whose mission, since 1984, is to support programs that help create productive and responsible individuals dedicated to advances in the pork industry. It encourages and supports collaboration — connecting students with persons and systems — to maximize and sustain educational opportunities that provide insight into pork industry careers. Opportunities include Foundation programs conducted in an objective, scientific manner, as well as specific research and education that may be requested by interested third parties.

As the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, CME Group ( enables clients to trade futures, options, cash and OTC markets, optimize portfolios, and analyze data — empowering market participants worldwide to efficiently manage risk and capture opportunities. CME Group exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural products and metals. The company offers futures and options on futures trading through the CME Globex platform, fixed income trading via BrokerTec and foreign exchange trading on the EBS platform. In addition, it operates one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers, CME Clearing.

NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 66,000 pork producers who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals; in protecting the environment and public health; and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit