Volume 23 | Issue 6

Herring inducted into National Pork Industry Hall of Fame

Innovation, family, and a customer-focused mindset were foundational for the latest National Pork Industry Hall of Fame inductee, William “Billy” Herring. With his successful career spanning more than 50 years in the pork industry, Herring today was inducted at the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) annual business meeting — the National Pork Industry Forum.


“Billy’s contribution to the U.S. pork industry is second to none. He’s influenced how pigs are raised not just in the U.S. but worldwide,” said outgoing NPPC President Terry Wolters, a producer from Pipestone, Minnesota. “Billy has made countless lasting contributions to the U.S. pork industry and has led with values that he has instilled in the next generation of pork producers. We congratulate Billy for his induction to the Hall of Fame because the pork industry wouldn’t be where it is today without his contributions.”


Herring founded Hog Slat, which serves pig and poultry farmer’s equipment and is the largest contractor and manufacturer of hog equipment in the United States. Hog Slat started as a solution to a supply chain problem when Herring was building a new nursery for the family’s 300-sow farrow-to-finish operation in North Carolina. In response, Herring created his own slats, and his quality workmanship and attention to detail was the start of a multifaceted international enterprise.


Herring's family is at the core of this success — which, by his definition, includes his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the 2,000-plus Hog Slat employees. Herring and sons Tommy, David, and Mark work together managing the business, which remains family-owned, and includes a 30,000-sow farm and construction jobs around the globe.


Other companies began at the same time as Hog Slat to supply producers. But Herring’s business model outgrew and outlasted the rest. “Billy was a producer himself,” said Bynum Driggers, Ph.D., professor emeritus at North Carolina State University. “He saw the benefit and how people responded to the need for equipment and the technology he could provide. His company just kept growing and growing under his leadership.”


Herring has recently retired, but the company upholds the direct-to-farmer model he established, allowing not only for affordable and quality products but also for service, research, and development.

North Carolina is well represented at the National Pork Forum

Last week at National Pork Industry Forum, producer delegates from each state pork association met for the annual Pork Act Delegate Meeting. They introduced and passed 2 advisements for NPB to prioritize. 


1. Encourage U.S. SHIP Enrollment

Iowa Pork Producers Association and Minnesota Pork Board introduced an advisement that NPB should encourage pork producers to enroll in U.S. SHIP and utilize AgView and Secure Pork Supply to comply with U.S. SHIP biosecurity and traceability standards.

In 2022, NPB invested nearly $1 million to support the program, including the development of tools to verify voluntary compliance with U.S. SHIP standards. Around 40% of the U.S. breeding herd and growing pigs across 31 states have been enrolled in U.S. SHIP to date. The pilot program is on an expedited path toward becoming a USDA program by 2024. 


2. Develop Nutrition Tools to Isolate Pork from Red Meat Categories

The Iowa Pork Producers Association brought forward a second advisement encouraging NPB to develop and test new food frequency questionnaires and dietary evaluation tools that clearly isolate pork from red meat categories, to better understand the impacts of pork on nutrition and health outcomes. 

Scholarship opportunities

Up to $60,000 available for grad students through Real Pork Scholars program; deadline is April 14

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Real Pork Scholars is a professional executive mentorship program for graduate students that is designed to leave a lasting impact on participants and the U.S. pork industry. Students pursuing graduate study in accredited M.S., Ph.D., J.D., or DVM-Ph.D. programs are eligible to apply. 

Grounded in research and driven by professional relationships, experience as a Real Pork Scholar will launch students into the next phase of their careers. The program offers students:

  • mentorship
  • peer-to-peer network building
  • professional training
  • funding for meaningful research

At the same time, the U.S. pork industry will gain enhanced insights by filling research gaps and building strong connections with emerging thought leaders.

Learn more

NC Pork offers scholarships for students taking undergraduate and community college classes

Every year the NC Pork Council awards $1,000 in scholarships to two deserving North Carolina agriculture students attending a four-year university and four $500 scholarships to students attending a community college.

All required information, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a recent headshot must be submitted to the NC Pork Council by April 19, 2023.

Visit our Website to apply

Did you know? NC Pork will partially reimburse producers who host interns

The N.C. Pork Council will provide a reimbursement of one-half of a student intern’s salary, up to a maximum of $2,500 per intern, to be paid to the sponsoring NC pork producer at the end of the internship ($5,000 maximum per company).

The student internship program is intended to encourage pork producers and pork production companies to introduce students to potential careers in the pork industry. This program will help to improve public relations and to encourage pork producers and pork production companies to invest in the industry’s future employees.

Reimbursement will be made to the pork producer after completion of the internship and after the student intern and pork producer evaluations have been completed and submitted to the NCPC within 30 days after completion of the internship.

Visit our Website to learn more

NC State student earns NPPC scholarship

Molly Jones, a senior at NC State University and incoming first year at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, is one of 12 to receive the Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship from the National Pork Producers Council.

“We want to recognize these outstanding college students and their commitment to the U.S. pork industry,” said outgoing NPPC President Terry Wolters, a producer from Pipestone, Minnesota. “Through the Lois Britt and Neil Dierks scholarships, we are creating a talent pipeline for the next generation of industry leaders.”

The $2,500 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship program, sponsored by CME Group and the National Pork Industry Foundation, is awarded to undergraduates in a two-year swine program or a four-year college of agriculture program. The scholarship program was introduced in 1990 and later renamed in 2006 in memoriam of Lois Britt, former NPPC board director. A lifetime supporter of agriculture, Britt spent 34 years with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and finished her career after 15 years with Murphy-Brown LLC (now Smithfield) doing public and government relations. She was inducted into the NPPC Pork Industry Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Pork Council Hall of Fame and was awarded the North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other achievements.

Mark your calendar and get your tickets now

Don't miss out on the tastiest meal of the year. Five delicious bacon-themed courses paired with five Sazerac-branded bourbons. Plus a Sazerac expert will be there to discuss the intricacies of each pour. If you like bourbon - or bacon - you're not going to want to miss this!

Individual tickets ($125) and tables of 8 ($1,000) are now available. So grab your friends and mark your calendar! Get your tickets now!

Bacon and Bourbon is a fundraiser for non-checkoff and non-political programs. We welcome the use of corporate credit cards to purchase tickets and/or tables for this event.

Bacon and other select pork products provided by Villari Foods.

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