The inside view of the Remarkable Rise of Jim Pillen from Nebraska Pork Producer to Nebraska Governor.

A Family Legacy: Gov. Jim Pillen sits with two of his children, Brock and Sarah, who serve as co-CEOs of Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics. As a family-owned, family operated business, the Pillen’s count all 1,200 team members as part of their extended family.

For the first time in over a century, the people of Nebraska elected a farmer to lead their state. On January 5th 2023, Pork Producer and Republican Jim Pillen was sworn in as 41st governor of Nebraska. What a time for the Pork Industry to shed a spotlight on a natural leader emerging from our ranks and how the Pork Industry can take center stage in the Cornhusker State.

The Right Man at the Right Time, with the Right Experience for Nebraska

Jim Pillen has decades of experience swine farming, veterinary medicine, and supporting Nebraskan agriculture. Before rising to the state’s highest office, Pillen spent years working on his family’s swine farm in Platte County Nebraska, learning the ins and outs of the industry. Today, he brings that same hands-on approach to governing, using his firsthand knowledge of the swine industry to make informed decisions that benefit both the state’s farmers and its residents. But how did a small-town farmer become the leader of a state? In this article, we delve into the journey of Jim Pillen, from the farm to the governor’s mansion.

Solving complex problems while keeping people first.

While seeming very different, running a swine farm or running a state both require similar skills for success. Both involve building and maintaining strong relationships, understanding complex processes, and being able to handle unexpected situations. Essentially, it comes down to being a problem solver while keeping relationships intact. Governor Pillen stated,

“I have always been a problem solver. As I was playing college football, studying my way through veterinary school, or starting and fostering a family business, I always looked for opportunities and worked hard to find solutions to achieve my goals. This drive is also what motivates me as governor.

Sarah Pillen, co-CEO – Pillen Family Farms/DNA Genetics added, “Growing up, I saw the care dad gave to his family, to our Team and to our local community. He always treats everyone fairly which is why he was so successful in business.” It is without a doubt, these skills that have allowed him to be also so successful in politics.

Farmers know Nebraska

Agriculture is the number one industry in Nebraska and there are close to 50,000 farms in the state. You may be surprised to learn that Jim Pillen is the first farmer to be elected governor in over a century. The last farmer-governor was Keith Neville, a rancher from North Platte, was in office from 1917-1919. Governor Neville’s tenure focused mostly on liquor laws and the impacts of the First World War.  Governor Pillen has the opportunity to impact the conditions to improve the lives of all Nebraskans, and given his background, Swine farmers may be the first to see positive change. Steve Weiss President & Co-Founder from NutriQuest said,

“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Jim Pillen for several years, and know that Jim is a highly principled man of integrity and passion for the pork industry and for the state of Nebraska.  He is Governor for the right reasons and will do right by the people of Nebraska.  He will clearly be supportive of the pork industry and its importance to the state and our country, but more importantly he will stand proud as a pork producer and will set a great example for the quality of leaders we have in our industry.”

What laws or policies would you like to see Governor Pillen support in his first year in office that would improve the pork industry in Nebraska?  Send us your comments at

How to take on unfair, out-of-state laws that will negatively affect the pork industry.

Without a doubt, Jim is going to have the state’s farmers and agriculture industry in the forefront of his mind as he crafts his agenda for his first years in office. One challenge that Governor Pillen addresses are the concerns of animal welfare activists. He states,

“It has become commonplace to hear cries denouncing agriculture from radical activists, and this isn’t right. Agriculture has always been Nebraska’s way of life. Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Nebraska and must be supported to continue to strengthen our rural communities and provide feed and fuel to the world.”

New laws proposed by other states that unfairly effect Nebraskan agriculture will likely be at the top of Governor Pillen’s agenda. First on the hit list? California’s disastrous hog pen size law, a poorly conceived scheme[i]  that will only serve to increase pork prices and harm farmers across the nation. Laws that cause other states to conform to unrealistic and unnecessary standards should be an easy issue to address for someone with vast experience in the pork industry. Another concern is the high price of farmland in Nebraska. Dan Crisler of Omaha World-Herald reported in January that an acre of high-quality irrigated land now costs as much as $12,000. This will continue to be a challenge for smaller producers; again a challenge that will be made better by having a farmer in the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion.

In summary, putting any partisan politics aside, Nebraska’s new governor, Jim Pillen, is ready to bring his decades of experience in the agriculture industry to the governor’s office. With a deep understanding of the challenges facing farmers across the state, Pillen is the perfect man for the job and is poised to lead the way in making Nebraska an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

For those in the pork industry, the news is even better. With Pillen’s vast experience in the field, the state’s hog farmers can rest assured that their interests will be well represented in the governor’s office. From tackling unfair laws that threaten the industry to finding solutions for the challenges facing small-scale producers, Pillen is ready to put his skills to work for the people of Nebraska.

We’ll leave the last word to Pat Joyce, President of Standard Nutrition, who eloquently states,

“I have had the fortune to become acquainted with Jim through various business relationships and have admired the success he and his family have had in the Pork Industry.  What he has learned from his experiences in leading and growing a family business and creating lasting relationships over the years will translate well to his new role as the Governor of Nebraska.  I look forward seeing how Jim will find opportunities to positively impact not only the Pork Industry, but also agriculture in general through his leadership.”

Join in supporting the governor and help build a brighter future for the heartland!

[i] Omaha World Herald. Two Nebraska farm groups oppose hog confinement law; a third calls issue ‘complicated. Available at: Accessed 11 FEB 22.

Jeff Day is the Editorial Strategist at He can be reached at