On December 1, 1983, Ronald Reagan was president, the internet was just being created, bacon was $.99/lb., the Missouri Pork Producers Association office was located in Boonville, I was 8 years old, and Don Nikodim was just beginning his career as the third executive director of the Missouri Pork Association.

I was an ornery kid at that age. My brother Ben and I tagged along with our dad and mom, Dennis and Kathy, to many different events as we grew up, from the Missouri State Fair and Pork Chop Tent, to county association picnics, to the Missouri Pork Conference. We were very fortunate in that aspect, as we got to observe and learn from our parents as they served as leaders in the organization and from Don (when we weren’t running around tearing things up!). I can only imagine how many times we caused havoc for all of them.

As I grew up, Don was always there when I needed a letter of recommendation or a reference for an application. Once I started farming full time and began to get more involved with Missouri Pork, he always encouraged me and helped me grow into the person I am today.

I’m certain this story is the same for many throughout Missouri who grew up in the last 40 years and had a connection with Don. He has always said that the best thing about being involved in the pork industry is the people he gets to interact with every day. Don’s exactly right about that and is one of those great people in the industry. The impact he has had on the pork industry and Missouri agriculture is hard to measure, but the impact he has had on developing leaders is something I truly admire.

Thank you, Don, for all you have done for the Association and Missouri agriculture over the years. We at Missouri Pork are proud of the way you have represented us and the industry over the past 40 years.

As many of you know, Don has announced that he will retire at the end of March 2024. Throughout his career, he has done an excellent job of building the Missouri Pork Association into a great organization, and his leadership will be missed. Be sure to congratulate him on a great career the next time you see him!

This past fall, the Board of Directors began work to find our organization’s next executive director. We are excited to welcome Scott Hays as the fourth executive director of Missouri Pork. Scott has been active in the pork industry his entire life and is currently serving as president of the National Pork Producers Council’s Board of Directors. He will start in his new role with MPA on April 1, 2024. Join us in welcoming Scott to the Association.

If you haven’t checked out our Instagram page, @MissouriPork, you need to! We are approaching 35,000 followers! Diane has done a great job with this page as it continues to set the standard for Instagram pages throughout the pork industry, reaching more and more people every day. You can find many great recipes and pictures that make your mouth water. Be sure to check it out.

Finally, I hope you will make plans to attend the 2024 Missouri Pork Expo at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach on February 20-21, 2024. The conference is a great time to meet with vendors throughout the industry, learn about current events, and most importantly catch up with old friends. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.

In the meantime, I hope 2024 is a great year for you!

Respectfully, your MPA Chairman,

Adam Dohrman