The National Pork Producers Council announced 12 scholarship winners at its annual business meeting — the National Pork Industry Forum. The Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship and the Neil Dierks Scholarship were awarded to college students pursuing careers in the U.S. pork industry.
"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 2023 winners of the $2,500 Lois Britt Memorial Scholarship are:
- Kirby Cook, Iowa State University
- James DeRouchey, Kansas State University
- Joseph Halbur, South Dakota State University
- Molly Jones, North Carolina State University
- Leah Marek, Iowa State University
- Kyra Schenk, South Dakota State University
- Keegan Sheiss, Purdue University
- Karmen Sperr, South Dakota State University
- Elizabeth Staggs, Purdue University
- Elizabeth Thome, University of Minnesota
The 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.
The 2023 winners of the $5,000 Neil Dierks Scholarship are:
- Grace Christensen of Iowa
- Caitlyn Wileman of Wisconsin
The Neil Dierks Scholarship, founded in 2021 and sponsored by the National Pork Industry Foundation, is awarded to current or applied-for-acceptance graduate students in a swine program. Dierks served as NPPC's CEO for 21 years. Retiring in December 2021 after 31 years with NPPC, Dierks made countless lasting contributions to the U.S. pork industry and established NPPC as a top-tier advocacy organization and the global voice of the U.S. pork industry. He was inducted into the NPPC Pork Industry Hall of Fame in 2022.
Scholarship applications for 2024 will open in November 2023.