Jim Meimann, senior vice president for governance and operations for the National Pork Board, and Mike Wegner, vice president of communications for the National Pork Board, will retire April 1.
Meimann began his 27 years of service to the pork industry with the National Pork Producers Council in 1986 at the start of the Checkoff and joined the Pork Board in 2001. Over the years, he has made many contributions to the industry. One of his notable contributions included organizing the Checkoff and in ensuring a smooth transition during the separation of NPPC and the National Pork Board.
"Few individuals have done so much for the pork industry, with so little fanfare," National Pork Board CEO Chris Novak said. "Jim's farm background, passion for producers and the pork industry, institutional knowledge and attention to detail have always made him the person that producers and staff turn to for help in solving problems. He has been a cornerstone for work done for, with and on behalf of producers."
This has included guiding legal counsel during a five-year trademark infringement challenge of the use of Pork. The Other White Meat. He helped secure a resounding and precedent-setting victory. He also has been the chief advisor and counselor to five different Pork Board and NPPC CEOs, who have all counted on him for his wisdom, experience and professionalism.
Prior to his service to the pork industry, Meimann was an Iowa assistant secretary of agriculture in charge of marketing, administration, commodity promotion and commodity referendums.
Wegner, with the Pork Board for 11 years, has been instrumental in branding the Pork Checkoff and helping producers understand how their Checkoff is invested on their behalf. When he came on board in 2001, just over half of producers supported the work of the Checkoff compared with 85 percent today.
"Through Mike's vision, his energy for telling the pork story and his dedication, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that pork producers understood how their Checkoff dollars were creating a return for the industry," Novak said. "He has brought a unique perspective to our team that has challenged us to go farther than convention would dictate."
During his time with the National Pork Board, Wegner led a team of industry leaders in developing the pork industry's ethical principles that serve as the foundation for the We Caresm initiative. He helped create the Operation Main Street speakers program and has overseen the development of a social media program, an industry-leading issues management program and has been a major contributor to the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance's consumer outreach efforts.
In addition to the National Pork Board, Wegner spent nearly 20 years in a variety of reporting and editing positions at The Des Moines Register, where in 1991 he was project editor for a series of stories that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.