The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board awarded former Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Executive Director Mike Telford with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award. Presented at the National Pork Industry Forum joint annual business meeting, Telford was recognized for his leadership, vision, and long-standing commitment to the pork industry.
“NPPC and the National Pork Board are honored to present Mike with this well-deserved award,” said outgoing NPPC President Terry Wolters, a producer from Pipestone, Minnesota. “Throughout his career, Mike Telford has been a well-respected visionary and committed mentor for pork producers across the country. His leadership and unconventional thinking helped the Iowa pork industry navigate through some challenging years, helping it to continue to flourish and succeed,” Wolters added.
The award, named after former Minnesota and Wisconsin Executive Directors Don Paulson and Rex Whitmore, recognizes state pork organization executives for outstanding leadership and commitment.
Like many pork association executives, Telford discovered his love for agriculture at a young age in high school. With his involvement in the National FFA Organization, Telford realized agriculture was where he belonged and enrolled at Iowa State University to study animal science. While at Iowa State, doors to his career began opening.
In 1978, Telford stepped in as IPPA’s executive director. During some of the most challenging years in agriculture, Telford led IPPA with his unconventional and bold thinking. However, Telford is quick to deflect any credit for his great accomplishments and gives credit to his producers and team.
Under Telford’s leadership, IPPA played a key role in the establishment of the mandatory checkoff, a legislative achievement he shared with a dedicated group of producers who did the research and united the industry across the state. He saw issues from a unique perspective, with the ability to anticipate the needs and challenges facing the pork industry. Many members of the team Telford assembled have gone on to lead other state associations, on the national level and within other agricultural groups.