Former Texas Pork Producers Association Executive Honored

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KANSAS CITY, MO., March 5, 2020 – The National Pork Producers Council joined the National Pork Board today in presenting former Texas Pork Producers Association Executive Vice President Ken Horton with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award at the National Pork Industry Forum.

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

Horton, who led the Texas Pork Producers Association for 36 years until his retirement in 2013, grew up in south Texas and was active in Future Farmers of America. While attending Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M), he worked at a farrow-to-finish enterprise based at a children’s home, where he also counseled children. Soon, he was the farm manager, in charge of all livestock and row-crop production. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Texas Pork Producers Association as its first full-time director in 1977.

His first mission at the Texas Pork Producers Association was visiting farms all over the state to generate support for the recently established checkoff. Horton’s ability to listen and empathize with hog farmers’ challenges and successes allowed him to build coalitions across Texas and around the country.

Horton’s achievements included advocacy for common-sense, trucking regulation to facilitate the efficient transport of hogs around the state. He played a major role in educating state lawmakers about pork production practices and was a champion of environmental stewardship.

Recognizing the importance of educating and nurturing the next generation of hog farmers, Horton additionally partnered every year with professors at Texas A&M University to teach high school students about pork production.

“Ken Horton is a well-respected, strong leader for U.S. pork producers who has tirelessly advocated for our industry for more than 35 years,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “He has always been generous with his time, eager to meet with students, lawmakers and anyone with an interest in agriculture to showcase the importance of U.S. pork production. For his numerous years of service and commitment to ensuring future generations of hog farmers, NPPC and the Pork Board are pleased to present Ken 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. For more information, visit