The Pork Industry Immersion Program

This January, the National Pork Board (NPB) in partnership with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and state organizations kicked off the Pork Industry Immersion Program for early career development. 

This two-year program was created to accelerate the development of early career talent, creating a pipeline of leaders ready to meet the demands and challenges of pork associations by exposing future leaders to all facets of the pork industry. 

The program will include three eight-month rotations at the following organizations: 

  • NPB: focusing on research, education and promotion 
  • NPPC: focusing on policy development and grassroots engagement 
  • State Pork Association: focusing on the application of research, education, promotion, policy and grassroots at the state and producer level 

Seth Mitchell is the first to pioneer the program, beginning his first rotation at NPB’s headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa last January.

Who is Seth Mitchell?

In May 2022, Seth Mitchell completed his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning degrees in both animal science and agricultural and consumer economics. Following his graduation, Seth relocated to Washington, D.C., where he had been working with CropLife American and CropLife International. His work primarily revolved around governmental relations, public affairs and communications. Additionally, Seth completed internships with Ag Ingenuity and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

Growing up, Seth had experience as a herdsman from his involvement in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). During his time in these organizations, he initiated a small hog operation that not only catered to his own needs but also served fellow chapter members by providing show pigs. 

This week, Seth was invited as a guest to the Popular Pig Podcast to share his experience within the program so far. In his interview, Seth reflected on his first rotation with the NPB: 

“I’ve had the opportunity to go to a lot of these state meetings and be involved in public speaking engagements and to be in activities where I can tell my story and hopefully promote this program throughout the pork industry. Those are some of the highlights of this year. Again, it all goes back to being intentional about what you’re doing and being able to accept new opportunities.” 

To learn more about the program and Seth’s experience, listen to his episode here

What’s Next

As phase one of the immersion program concludes, Seth is set to begin his second rotation at NPPC in September in Des Moines, Iowa before transitioning to Washington, D.C. for the remainder of the rotation. In May of 2024, Seth will relocate to Raleigh, North Carolina to work with the North Carolina Pork Council for his final rotation within the program. 

“It’s a really well-rounded experience that’s giving me diverse opportunities to see the pork industry through a multitude of lenses,” Seth said. 

“The goal of this whole immersion program is to learn not just the programmatic areas of the pork associations, but also that organizational structure, and the back-of-house operational side.” 

This program was designed to empower early career professionals like Seth to tackle the complex challenges within state pork associations. Each eight-month rotation requires relocation, allowing future leaders to fully immerse themselves in each organization’s operations.  

NPB is excited about the contributions Seth will bring to the pork industry and looks forward to the milestones he’ll achieve in his career.