Iowa-native Bryan Humphreys brings experience and energy to National Pork Producers Council
The new CEO of the National Pork Producers Council held previous leadership roles at the state and checkoff levels in the pork industry.
DES MOINES, Iowa — A native of the country's largest pork producing state is leading the National Pork Producers Council in a new, energized direction .
Under the first few months of Bryan Humphreys' time as the CEO of NPPC, the organization has announced it will increase funding through its Strategic Investment Program and unveiled a new brand to symbolize the organization’s transformation. Last week at the World Pork Expo, he announced a five-year strategic plan that includes addressing urgent issues such as African Swine Fever and California Proposition 12.
The NPPC works on behalf of the nation's 66,000 pork producers and represents 42 affiliated state associations, working on legislative and regulatory issues along with developing market opportunities. The council has offices in Washington, D.C. and Urbandale, Iowa.
The native of Columbus Junction, Iowa, was hired as CEO in December 2021 and this year's expo on June 8-10 was Humphrey's first chance to address the nation's pork producers as the leader of the NPPC.
"It feels fantastic," he said on June 8, after giving a speech announcing the newest developments of the council including the increased funding and new logo.
Humphreys — who grew up on a hog farm — said he had fond memories of attending the World Pork Expo with his father and brothers.
"Today, my son is at World Pork Expo with my father," said Humphreys. "And so he's going through the same experience, and it's coming full circle."
He said his upbringing on a hog farm "continually reminds" him of the work that goes into raising hogs. Humphrey's brothers are still contract growers, and he said he'll occasionally visit their barns to help power wash or move hogs for a day.
"And get what they refer to as real-world experience," he said of his brothers. "It's good to keep me grounded in who I work for."
The 38-year-old replaced longtime NPPC leader Neil Dierks, who retired after spending 20 year as CEO. Humphreys said that Dierks has been a "good friend and mentor" to him for many years, and the two still talk several times a week.
"Neil Dierks led this organization through some very tough times and some very exciting times," said Humphreys. "He's had lots of sage wisdom for me as we go through this last six months and into the future."
A primed leader
After graduating from Iowa State University, Humphreys went to work for the Republican Party of Minnesota, including as a regional field director for John McCain from 2006-08.
In 2009, Humphreys joined NPPC as the director of grassroots operations — a position he held for about five years.
"That's where I helped talk to producers about getting engaged in the political system and telling their story to legislators and regulators," he said of his first NPPC role.
Humphreys was named executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council in 2014, and gained experience leading operations at the state level. His most recent position was vice president of producer, state and industry relations for the National Pork Board.
"Over my my career in the pork industry, I've had the the opportunity to see both the NPPC state association and the checkoff side," said Humphreys.
Jen Sorenson, past president of the NPPC board of directors, said in a statement after Humphreys was hired that his "strategic thinking and unique experiences" embody the type of leadership the pork industry needs to face an uncertain future.
Terry Wolters, president of the NPPC board of directors, called Humphreys a "high energy, very proactive leader."
"Bryan comes to us off of a national search in which we interviewed a lot of good candidates, and he was chosen because he understands the industry," said Wolters. "He really wants to be proactive, and get out ahead of the issues."
While leading the Ohio Pork Council, Humphreys developed award-winning producer image campaigns that fostered positive relationships with stakeholders, according to the council.
At the expo, Humphreys announced the new logo for the NPPC, meant to symbolize the organization’s transformation. The red, white, and blue speech bubble reinforces NPPC’s mission, said Humphreys.
"We remain the global voice of the pork industry, but we're highlighting that we're here to represent the U.S. pork producers," said Humphreys of the new brand. "This is showcasing that we have changed, and we are going to continue to adapt and continually improve — no different than our pork producers do on their operations every day."