Neil Dierks, who has been at the helm of the National Pork Producers Council for two decades, says he will retire by the end of the year.

Dierks has been with NPPC in various capacities for 31 years, including the last 20 as CEO. 

“I have truly enjoyed my service as CEO of NPPC,” Dierks said in a statement Friday. “The chance to interface with producers and others in the pork industry and beyond and to work with producer leaders and the talented NPPC staff has been the highlight of my career.” 

Dierks, who works from NPPC’s Des Moines office, has led the organization through issues such as a wave of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus and the processing slowdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has also been forced to cancel World Pork Expo — it’s signature summer event held annually in Iowa — for the last two years; in 2020, COVID-19 concerns led to the cancellation, and the 2019 event was canceled to stop any potential spread of African Swine Fever within the industry (the disease has not been detected in North America).

According to NPPC, he’ll stay in the role until a search for his replacement concludes. He’ll then transition to a strategic counselor capacity during a transition period.

NPPC President Jen Sorenson said Dierks has made “countless, lasting contributions to the U.S. pork industry and established NPPC as a leading national advocacy organization and the global voice of the U.S. pork industry.

“He announces his plan to retire from NPPC at a time when the organization is in a stronger position than ever before to fulfill its advocacy mission,” she said. 

The organization’s board of directors has retained Korn Ferry to manage the search process for a new CEO.

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