The National Pork Producers Council joined the National Pork Board on Thursday in presenting former Michigan Pork Producers Association (MPPA) Executive Vice President Sam Hines with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award at their annual business meeting – the National Pork Industry Forum – held here.
The award, named after past Minnesota and past Wisconsin executive directors Don Paulson and Rex Whitmore, recognizes the outstanding leadership and commitment of state pork organization executives.
Hines, who served as MPPA executive director for more than 30 years, grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Ohio, where he turned his father's gift of a few gilts into a profitable enterprise and eventually a small purebred Hampshire herd that helped pay his way through The Ohio State University.
After graduating from OSU, Hines joined Swift and Company as a hog buyer, working with the originators of the "Nickels for Profit" voluntary Pork Checkoff. After a few years, he returned to Ohio, where he established a hog operation and became a producer leader, serving on the Ohio Pork Council board of directors and on the NPPC executive committee. In the 1980s, he took the job as executive director of MPPA.
His excellent organizational and communications skills paired with his long history in all facets of the pork industry have been invaluable to those he served and to weathering significant challenges.
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to eliminate the Pork Checkoff, for example, Hines worked with the MPPA board to sue for the right to keep it, ultimately winning that battle. And when the only packing plant in Michigan closed and the value of production dropped, he worked with producers on a replacement facility. When the new plant came online, it immediately restored lost value to pigs produced in Michigan and surrounding states. He also worked with MPPA producer leaders to address the feral swine threat to domestic pigs in the states.
"Sam Hines believes in the value of high-quality, wholesome pork and the people who produce it and has used his many and varied skills to be an incredible champion for the pork industry," said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. "With more than 30 years of service to the industry, he has tirelessly shown his commitment to ensuring the prosperity of producers. NPPC is pleased, along with the National Pork Board, to present Sam with this well-deserved award."