Deborah Johnson, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council forthe past ten years, has announced that she plans to step down from her positionby the end of the year. Johnson has served as a strong advocatefor NorthCarolina's pork industry, which contributes more than $11 billion a year to thestate's economy.
"Deborah has been a remarkable leader for our industry who representedfarmers with pride and purpose. Her leadership and dedication will be hard toreplace," said Stephen Williamson, a hog farmer fromKenansville who serves aspresident of the North Carolina Pork CouncilCouncil Board of Directors. "While we are sad to seeher go, she is leaving the North Carolina Pork Councilin excellent shape."
Williamson has assembled a search committee to identify theorganization's next leader and hopes to have a new CEO in place by November.Johnson has agreed to remain with the North Carolina Pork Counciluntil anew CEO isselected to ensure a smooth transition.
"It has been a tremendous honor to represent an industrythat contributes so much to our state. During the past ten years, I have hadthe pleasure of working alongside farmers across North Carolina who arepassionate about farming and care deeply about their community," Johnson said."I'll always have a special place in my heart for North Carolina hog farmersand will continue to support the industry."
During Johnson's tenure at the North Carolina Pork Council, she helpedforged strong partnerships within the pork industry and the agriculturalcommunity. She effectively advocated for family farmers on the state andfederal level and was instrumental in creating the NC Animal Ag Coalition andNC Farm Families. She also encouraged the continued development of alternativeenergy projects.
Under her leadership, the North Carolina Pork Councilincreased itspromotion of barbecue and was a founding sponsor of the award-winning PBSseries "A Chef's Life." The organization also played a significant role infighting hunger in North Carolina, partnering with the North Carolina Association ofFeeding America Food Banks to address childhood hunger and study how food banksand farmers could work together to provide freshfruit and vegetables.
A native of North Carolina, Johnson has devoted her careerto agricultural advocacy and rural economic development. A graduate of theUniversity of North Carolina, she began her career in the pork industrywithPrestage Farms and also worked with the North Carolina State Ports Authority and Cape FearFarm Credit.
She has a long history of service to the agriculturalindustry, including service to the National Pork Board, North Carolina Ag Biotech AdvisoryCouncil, North CarolinaAgricultural Foundation and Sampson County Friends ofAgriculture.