The National Pork Producers Council joined the National Pork Board in presenting former Ohio Pork Council Executive Vice President Dick Isler with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award at the National Pork Industry Forum.
The award, named after Don Paulson, past Minnesota state pork executive, and Rex Whitmore, past Wisconsin state pork executive, recognizes the outstanding leadership and commitment of state pork organization executives.
Beginning his role with Ohio Pork in 1973 as the organization’s first full-time employee, Isler’s early career focused on promoting the nutritional value of pork to consumers and building support for the voluntary Pork Checkoff program. His tenure paralleled the industry’s changing structure and move toward increased efficiency.
Isler helped establish the Ohio Pork Congress in the late 1970s, leading it to become the second largest swine trade show in the nation during the 1980s. In 1998, when the industry faced the challenge of historically low hog prices, he worked to ensure that producers were provided adequate support and direction toward a solution.
In 2010, he led Ohio Pork’s efforts to stop draconian restrictions on producers’ production practices, securing an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States that stopped the organization from pursuing any ballot initiatives against the state’s pork industry through the year 2025.
Isler, who grew up on his family’s livestock farm in north central Ohio, earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from The Ohio State University. Following graduation, he served as a district sales manager with Ralston Purina before beginning his role with Ohio Pork.
“Dick has demonstrated a lifetime of dedication to pork producers and helped establish a precedent for the success of Ohio’s pork industry,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “With more than 40 years of service to the industry, he has tirelessly illustrated his commitment to ensuring the prosperity of producers. NPPC is pleased, along with the National Pork Board, to present Dick with this well-deserved award.”