Former Iowa Pork Producers CEO Honored

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ATLANTA, March 2, 2017 – The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined the National Pork Board today in presenting former Iowa Pork Producers Association CEO Rich Degner with the inaugural Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award at their annual business meeting – the National Pork Industry Forum – held here.

The award, named after Don Paulson, past Minnesota state pork executive, and Rex Whitmore, past Wisconsin state pork executive, recognizes the outstanding leadership and commitment of state pork organization executives.

Degner worked for IPPA for 35 years, serving as CEO the last 17 of those years before retiring in 2015. He began his career at the organization as program and communications director then moved to pork product promotion in Iowa and overseas.

He developed the structure for producer financial and business plan assistance following the pork economic crisis of the late 1980s, was active in federal level lobbying and helped create the Iowa Pork Tent at the Iowa State Fair, which now is a cornerstone of the fair and Iowa’s pork industry. Degner also played a key role in expanding pork export markets, leading producers on more than 50 trade missions to more than 20 countries.

While at IPPA, he guided pork producers in complying with new regulations while modernizing their farms, helping to redefine the production model in Iowa to respond to environmental concerns and to write the regulations that would shape the industry.

Degner, who grew up on his family’s farm in northwest Iowa, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from Iowa State University and, after graduation, taught vocational agriculture in Rock Valley and Ankeny, Iowa, before joining IPPA.

“Rich has dedicated his life to the U.S. pork industry, and the Iowa pork industry grew and prospered under his strong leadership,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “Like so many of our industry leaders, Rich focused on the producers and their success and on adding value to their product. NPPC is pleased, along with the National Pork Board, to present Rich with this well-deserved award.”

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 60,000 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.