NC Pork Council recognizes two pork industry leaders

Daniels named 2023 Outstanding Pork Producer of the Year; Short receives Emerging Leader Award.

March 30, 2023

3 Min Read
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NC Pork

The North Carolina Pork Council honored two exemplary pork producers at its annual conference earlier this month. Jennifer Daniels was named NC Pork Council’s 2023 Outstanding Pork Producer of the Year, while Joey Short received the the 2023 Emerging Leader Award. 

For the past 23 years, Daniels and her husband have owned and operated a diverse farm in Autryville including swine, poultry, row crops and vegetable production, plus 400 acres of organic crops. She is a leading voice for swine production in North Carolina – and agriculture in general – hosting farm tours for high school groups and University of Mount Olive classes. In 2019 she was elected as a member of the NC Pork Council's board of directors and is serving this year as the organization's vice president.

Daniels serves as a speaker for Operation Main Street, advocating on behalf of the pork industry. She has represented the industry before the U.S. Congress, and when not educating the nation's elected officials, has shared her knowledge with the public at booths at numerous other venues, including the Got to Be NC Festival, the NC State Fair and the Wayne County Fair. She has served on the Smithfield Grower Council for the past five years and has represented the company as a delegate at the National Pork Forum. Daniels is also active in Smithfield's outreach programs, including blood drives and hunger relief projects.

Daniels is humbled by her recognition from the NC Pork Council but believes her work on behalf of the swine industry is just beginning.

"The key to the future of our industry is through education," says Daniels. "We have a lot of people moving to North Carolina who haven't heard our dynamic story of both economic and community service contributions to our state and don't yet appreciate our commitment to doing things the right way. I am still a teacher at heart and I love telling the story of the pork industry in North Carolina."

Short took a non-traditional path to his current position as the head of the farrowing department for a sow farm at Murphy Family Ventures. His mercurial rise in the swine industry began with an internship in 2020, leading to a career that he had not envisioned just a few years ago.

Short grew up on a small family cow farm in Raeford, an operation he calls a "hobby farm." He entered North Carolina State University as an animal science major, later changing to agricultural science. Not having a clear vision of what area of agriculture he intended to pursue, it was a guest speaker in one of his classes who he says lit his fire for the swine industry.

"Bailee Arnold spoke to our class about her involvement in pork production," says Short. "Her message was so compelling that suddenly her passion became my passion. The pigs just drew me in. But it has been the people I have met in the industry who have sealed the deal for me. I have found my calling."

Arnold was certainly not an unlikely mentor and motivator. She received the Pork Council's Emerging Leader Award in 2020.

Short dove headfirst into the swine industry, moving from intern to department head in just three years. He credits his rise on the support and encouragement of all those he has encountered in the industry along the way.

"This is an industry that in many ways is generational in nature," says Short. "And then I show up with little background but a strong desire to learn and grow. I have been welcomed to the pork family as if I have always been a part, not just in North Carolina but at places like conferences I have attended in Iowa and Nebraska."

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