The National Pork Producers Council joined the National Pork Board today in presenting Missouri Pork Producers Association (MPPA) Executive Vice President Don Nikodim with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award at the National Pork Industry Forum.
The award, named after former Minnesota and Wisconsin Executive Directors Don Paulson and Rex Whitmore, recognizes the outstanding leadership and commitment of state pork organization executives.
Nikodim has been involved in the pork industry throughout his life. He grew up on a small, diversified farm in Southwest Missouri, and in high school had a 30-head sow herd. While attending the University of Missouri, he worked as a field representative for the Poland China Swine Record Association, a national group for Poland China purebred swine. His job involved extensive travel and interaction with pork producers throughout the country.
Shortly after graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in agriculture, he taught the subject for several years before becoming executive secretary for the Poland China Swine Record Association. In December 1983, he joined MPPA as executive director.
In his nearly 40 years at MPPA, Nikodim has helped expand pork promotion, education and public policy efforts in Missouri, was instrumental in navigating Missouri’s Right-to-Farm legislation to ensure common-sense policies for producers and has effectively addressed opposition from animal rights’ activists.
Recognizing the importance of educating and nurturing the next generation of hog farmers, MPPA is a leader in youth programs, including the Pork Institute, FFA Pork Speaking contest and year-round intern and ambassador programs. Nikodim has volunteered in board roles for a variety of organizations, including Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow, the Kansas City Ag Business Council and Missouri Farmers Care.
“Throughout his career, Don Nikodim has been a well-respected, strong advocate for U.S. pork producers,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “His steady demeanor, fairness and insightful leadership have served the industry well for nearly four decades. For his numerous years of service and commitment to ensuring future generations of hog farmers, NPPC and the Pork Board are pleased to present Don with this well-deserved award,” he added.