Heather Hill

Heather Hill – Greenfield, Indiana
Second Term Incumbent

Heather Hill is co-owner of Hill Farms, LLC in Greenfield, Indiana. Hill Farms is a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 30,000 pigs annually also growing corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Hill is a former president of the Indiana Pork Board and has been actively involved with the group since 2009. She is actively involved in the National FFA Career Development Sales Committee, the Farm Bureau and her church. She has served as a leader for the local 4-H chapter and is an Operation Main Street speaker. Hill is currently a board member for the National Pork Board.

Why are you interested in serving on the National Pork Board? 

I am very proud to be raising the 5th generation of pig farmers on our family farm. It is very important to me that my three children have the ability to have a future in agriculture and specifically the pig industry if they so desire. My husband and I know that if we aren’t willing to stand up for our industry, we can’t expect anyone else to be willing to do it either and that could put our children’s future in jeopardy. Agriculture and more specifically the pig industry is my passion and I believe my background and experiences allow me to provide a unique perspective to the board. I have been very humbled and honored to serve on the National Pork Board for the last three years and want to continue to be able to give back to this amazing industry over the next three years.

What are the biggest challenges you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years? 

There are many issues and challenges facing the pork industry; however, I feel there are three that need our continued attention to ensure our future success as an industry: swine health, technology and innovation, and consumer perceptions.

Regardless of farm size, pork producers often have to deal with health challenges; however, now we must also deal with the increased, ongoing threat of foreign animal disease. Health challenges of any kind can be devastating, but a foreign animal disease could completely turn our industry upside down. I’m very proud of all of the behind the scenes work many in our industry are doing on a constant basis to keep foreign animal diseases out of our country, while also developing plans and systems for worst case scenarios. We must continue to work together with an organized, systematic approach to ensure our industry’s viability.

Technology is a part of everyone’s daily life. Most of us could not imagine our day without the use of our smartphone; however, the adoption of technology and innovation in our industry is often slow due to consumer and producer perceptions. We must find ways to be able to adopt innovations in our operations that have benefits for our end users along with creating efficiencies on the farm. We must also work to ensure that current innovations we have such as antibiotics continue to be available in our toolbox.

In today’s world, an abundance of information, both accurate and false, is available at one’s fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This information overload has caused today’s consumers to question what is true and what is false and often causes them to form perceptions that are not reality and not based on science. These perceptions rather than science are then impacting decision makers. From policy and regulations on a domestic and international level such as the export market being impacted by the bans on Ractopamine to the local, state, and national government level to the food company level as evidenced by the many confusing labels we see on food on the grocery store or in advertisements. As pork producers, we must work more now than ever in the past to tell our story and educate consumers, elected officials, and those involved in the food industry about today’s pork industry.

What opportunities do you see facing the pork industry in the next 3 years? 

The challenges facing our industry have created many opportunities.  As producers, we must commit to taking an active role in our local, state, and national organizations to ensure our industry is moving at the speed of business and addressing these issues and taking advantage of these opportunities as they occur.  Continued collaboration and synergies will be critical in addition to being responsive and prepared.   Additionally, we must help each other with a grassroots approach to ensure we are supporting each other. Our industry continues to serve various types and kinds of producers and it takes all kinds to make our industry strong. This strength will only help us continue to be successful regardless of the obstacles we face. In addition to the local, state, and national associations working together, we must be willing and take a leadership role to work with our fellow livestock and grain producers. Ultimately, we are all the face of agriculture and we must work together to ensure our future.

If elected, how will you be a positive influence for the pork industry? 

If re-elected to the National Pork Board, I will be a voice and advocate for all producers and our industry whether it be in the board room, an interview, or a one-on-one conversation with a consumer.  My passion for the swine industry and my background and experiences allow me to provide a unique perspective to the board.  This will only further allow me to have a positive influence on the pork industry with and on behalf of my fellow producers.

Do you have any final thoughts or observations to share? 

It has been a true honor to serve on the National Pork Board for the last three years. I am excited to see the execution of many of the initiatives that have been started in the last three years, including Checkoff 4.0. I would love to have the opportunity to see these through over the next three years if elected to another term on the National Pork Board.

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