Veteran pig behavior specialist Stan Curtis was presented the Pork Industry Distinguished Service award during the Pork Industry Forum, March 8-10 in Orlando FL. Curtis, currently adjunct professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois-Urbana, has spent more than three decades studying the socio-political issues surrounding swine care and housing. He pioneered research on swine environment, housing and equipment with an emphasis on pig behavior and well-being.

Curtis was in the forefront as animal rights issues emerged in the 1970s, urging the pork industry to recognize and address any animal care issues raised by activists. He contributed to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Animal Welfare Committee and was instrumental in developing and drafting new guidelines for pork producers to address the issue.

Throughout his career, Curtis has served Purdue University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Illinois. During his tenure, he has made more than 700 presentations to producer, scientific and government groups in all 50 states and 20 countries.

Also recognized during the annual Pork Industry Forum banquet were Ellen & Ray Hankes as inductees into the Pork Industry Hall of Fame. The award commemorates pork producers who have devoted their life’s work to building the U.S. pork industry.

The husband-wife team have been active throughout all levels of pork organizations. Ray chaired the committee that developed the "Pork – the Other White Meat" campaign. Also, during his term as NPPC president (1988), the first World Pork Expo was staged.

Ellen, an active partner in the family hog operation, Thrushwood Farms, served as the first woman president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. Ellen was also an active member of the National Pork Council Women organization, developed and presented workshops on diet and health issues and served as a spokesperson for the Agriculture Council of America’s Foodwatch program.

Both earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Illinois; Ray also received his doctorate in ruminant nutrition and meat science there.

The Hankes recently moved to Nashville, TN where Ray manages a new IBP meat plant which produces retail-ready steaks, chops roasts and ground beef near Goodletsville, TN.