The Pork Checkoff honored Sam Hines of Holt, MI, as the winner of 2009 Distinguished Service Award. He is the executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association.

Hines lifelong commitment to the U.S. pork industry was recognized during the annual banquet of the National Pork Industry Forum in Dallas, TX, March 5-7, 2009.

"Sam's hard work and passion for the pork industry benefited not only Michigan producers, but the industry as a whole," said Steve Weaver, National Pork Board president from Elk Grove, CA. "Sam has many accomplishments to his credit, including playing a role in pseudorabies eradication and was a member of the leadership group that established the National Pork Board's permanent office in Des Moines.”

Another important accomplishment that many people credit Hines with is working to make the Pork Checkoff what it is today, particularly when the checkoff program was challenged. Those circumstances included legal challenges to the constitutionality of the Pork Checkoff.

"The Pork Checkoff could easily have ended through any one of those court decisions," said Jim Meimann, executive vice president, governance and operations for Pork Checkoff. "Sam and the Michigan pork producers were always there making sure things were done right. I think without Sam's attention to this effort, we may not have a Pork Checkoff today," he added.

The Distinguished Service Award is given annually to recognize the lifelong contribution to the pork industry of an outstanding leader.