Longtime leader of NC pork industry stepping down

Deborah Johnson, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council for

the past ten years, has announced that she plans to step down from her position

by the end of the year. Johnson has served as a strong advocate

for North

Carolina's pork industry, which contributes more than $11 billion a year to the

state's economy.

"Deborah has been a remarkable leader for our industry who represented

farmers with pride and purpose. Her leadership and dedication will be hard to

replace," said Stephen Williamson, a hog farmer from

Kenansville who serves as

president of the North Carolina Pork Council

Council Board of Directors. "While we are sad to see

her go, she is leaving the North Carolina Pork Council

in excellent shape."

Williamson has assembled a search committee to identify the

organization's next leader and hopes to have a new CEO in place by November.

Johnson has agreed to remain with the North Carolina Pork Council

until a

new CEO is

selected to ensure a smooth transition.

"It has been a tremendous honor to represent an industry

that contributes so much to our state. During the past ten years, I have had

the pleasure of working alongside farmers across North Carolina who are

passionate about farming and care deeply about their community," Johnson said.

"I'll always have a special place in my heart for North Carolina hog farmers

and will continue to support the industry."

During Johnson's tenure at the North Carolina Pork Council, she helped

forged strong partnerships within the pork industry and the agricultural

community. She effectively advocated for family farmers on the state and

federal level and was instrumental in creating the NC Animal Ag Coalition and

NC Farm Families. She also encouraged the continued development of alternative

energy projects.

Under her leadership, the North Carolina Pork Council

increased its

promotion of barbecue and was a founding sponsor of the award-winning PBS

series "A Chef's Life." The organization also played a significant role in

fighting hunger in North Carolina, partnering with the North Carolina Association of

Feeding America Food Banks to address childhood hunger and study how food banks

and farmers could work together to provide fresh

fruit and vegetables.

A native of North Carolina, Johnson has devoted her career

to agricultural advocacy and rural economic development. A graduate of the

University of North Carolina, she began her career in the pork industry


Prestage Farms and also worked with the North Carolina State Ports Authority and Cape Fear

Farm Credit.

She has a long history of service to the agricultural

industry, including service to the National Pork Board, North Carolina Ag Biotech Advisory

Council, North Carolina

Agricultural Foundation and Sampson County Friends of