A handful of purebred pork producers met at the Hotel Frederick in Boonville, Missouri, on a Sunday afternoon in 1954. By the time they departed that evening, the producers laid the groundwork for the Missouri Pork Association, then called the Missouri Swine Breeders Association.
This group of producers knew the pork industry needed a unified voice in order to help all of the state’s producers. Gene (W.E.) Smith, a producer from Nelson, Missouri, kept the majority of the paperwork for the office in his home and was technically the first executive secretary.
The Missouri Swine Breeders hired its first paid executive secretary, Harold Hurd, in 1969 and changed its name to the Missouri Pork Producers Association about this same time. Hurd lived in LaMonte, Missouri, so the Association office moved to that small town, west of Sedalia. The Association rented an office in town and hired a full-time secretary. Then he hit the road, holding organizational meetings in counties all over the state. In just a few years, 86 counties had organized associations.
Hurd also was a regular visitor to the Kansas City, St. Joseph and St. Louis stockyards to visit with producers about the new 5 cent implied consent program, implemented by the National Pork Producers Council.
During Hurd’s tenure at MPPA, the Association helped fund a new farrowing barn on the MU Swine Farm and also contributed funding for the construction and played a key role in moving the project forward of Trowbridge Livestock Arena, which is still in use today on the University campus. The sale arena inside Trowbridge is named for Gene Smith, one of the Association’s founders.
Hurd resigned as Executive Secretary in 1974. Jerry Clevenger became the next Executive Secretary and moved the office to Boonville, where it would stay until 1984. Don Nikodim was hired as Executive Secretary in October 1983 and continues to hold that position (his title now is Executive Vice President).
On July 19, 1984, Association leaders broke ground for a new headquarters building west of Columbia, just off Interstate 70. MPPA President Bob Cochran and Building Finance Chairman Jiggs Sandidge each guided a plow behind a team of mules to break the ground for the new building. The Association continues to call this building home.
The 1985 Farm Bill brought the legislated Checkoff program into being. Funds were first collected in 1986 and program activities began in 1987. The Checkoff rate, which initially began at $.30, eventually increased to $.45 per $100 value of pork sold or brought into the United States. In 2002, shortly after the separation of the National Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board, Pork Forum delegates voted to lower the Checkoff rate to $.40 per $100 of value. At the same time, NPPC began a new voluntary strategic investment program funded at $.10. This voluntary funding for NPPC is used for government and public policy issues.
Checkoff funds are used by the National Pork Board for promotion, research and consumer information. Each time you hear or see a Pork. The Other White Meat advertisement, Checkoff dollars make it possible. Checkoff funds have helped make the Pork. The Other White Meat slogan recognizable by the vast majority of Americans.
During the Fall of 2001, MPA engaged in a long term strategic planning process and in December, 2001, the Association changed its name to the Missouri Pork Association.
Past Missouri Pork Association Presidents
1956 – J.M. Garner, Sr., Mendon
1957-1958 – Gene Smith, Nelson
1959-1960 – Ruben Edwards, Middletown
1961-1962 – Ray Davenport, Thompson
1963-1964 – Bob Perry, Bethel
1965-1966 – Gerald Sandidge, Marshall
1967-1968 – Rudolph (Bud) Kurse, Jr., Carrollton
1969-1970 – James (Jim) Boillot, Columbia
1971-1972 – Leroy Vollmer, Boonville
1973-1974 – John Saunders, Osborn
1975-1976 – Calvin Harris, Lebanon
1977-1978 – Jim Phillips, Drexel
1979-1980 – John Ficken, Ionia
1981-1982 – Frederick Lovercamp, Sedalia
1983-1984 – Bob Cochran, Cairo
1985-1986 – Russell Kremer, Bonnots Mill
1987 – Dale Whiteside, Chillicothe
1988-1989 – Dennis Dohrman, Sweet Springs
1990 – Tim Grider, Helena
1991-1992 – Steve Price, Fair Play
1993-1994 – Jim Loethen, Hallsville
1995-1996 – Rick Rehmeier, Augusta
1997-1998 – David Bentley, Marshall
1999-2000 – Jim Guest, Rea
2001-2002 – Brent Sandidge, Marshall
2003-2004 – Phil Howerton, Chilhowee
2005-2006 – Kathy Chinn, Clarence
2007-2008 – Jim Fisher, Middletown
2009-2010 – Bill Kessler, Mexico
2011-2012 – Scott Hays, Monroe City
2013-2014 – Bob North, Lebanon
2015-2016 – Scott Phillips, Drexel
2017-2018 – Francis Forst, Lamar
2019-2020 – Marcus Belshe, Henley
2021-2022 – Don Laut, Jr., Fredericktown