DES MOINES, IOWA – The National Pork Board (NPB) today announced recent staff leadership changes to help ensure its ability to deliver on pork producer priorities for their Checkoff: to build trust in, and add value to, U.S. pork while also protecting the industry’s freedom to operate.

Dustin (Dusty) Oedekoven, DVM, will join NPB as the organization’s new chief veterinarian on Feb. 25, 2022. Dr. Oedekoven will lead a team of veterinarians and swine production experts in Pork Checkoff-funded work to deliver on the No. 1 concern for pork producers – foreign animal disease (FAD) preparedness and protecting the U.S. herd from African swine fever (ASF).

Dr. Oedekoven most recently served as State Veterinarian and Executive Secretary for the South Dakota Animal Industry Board where he provided strategic leadership and direction for the state’s animal health agency – a seven-member, governor-appointed board of livestock producers with responsibility for all animal health programs and disease control efforts in the state. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University and Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State University.

Dr. Patrick Webb, DVM, will now serve as NPB’s assistant chief veterinarian. Webb will continue implementing Pork Checkoff-funded FAD prevention and preparedness efforts, including AgView software adoption for disease response and advocating for Secure Pork Supply plans. In addition, he will play a key role in developing a unified swine industry approach for managing and responding to FAD threats and serve as a primary point of contact for the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Program (US SHIP) during the pilot program.

“From our 15-member producer board of directors to the leaders I talked to at the state pork associations and within the veterinarian and allied industry communities, I know we all agree on the importance of these roles,” said Bill Even, National Pork Board CEO. “Preventing ASF from entering the U.S. and addressing endemic disease, such as PRRS, are tall orders, but I am confident we have the leadership and talent to tackle these challenges in Drs. Oedekoven and Webb.”

Additionally, Brett Kaysen, Ph.D., who most recently served as the senior vice president of sustainability for NPB, has taken on the role of senior vice president of producer and state engagement. Under his leadership, Kaysen has elevated the industry’s sustainability platform, which is rooted in the We Care® Ethical Principles. In his new role, Kaysen will continue to oversee the sustainability team – now led by Sara Crawford, Ph.D., vice president of sustainability – and assume responsibility for the team charged with building grassroots leadership and partnerships among state pork associations and producers. Kaysen’s team also now includes those responsible for the industry’s award-winning Pork Quality Assurance® Plus training certification program as well as operation of NPB’s Service Center and coordination of the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence.

“U.S. pork producers continue to operate in a rapidly changing environment. From market dynamics, disease threats and increasing calls from the supply chain for demonstration of our sustainability practices, we need experienced, dedicated leaders who can nimbly navigate these changes on behalf of Checkoff payers due to their deep understanding of our industry,” said Even.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit porkcheckoff.org.