Former Hormel exec remembered for checkoff

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 6, 2000

Clayton T.

Friday, October 06, 2000

Clayton T. Kingston will be remembered as "Mr. Pork Checkoff."

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The same checkoff that now causes so much controversy was his idea.

The nation’s pork producers voted in late September on continuing the checkoff. Although some producers debate whether it truly helps all pork producers, no one has said it hurts any producers and the former Hormel Foods executive – with his employer’s endorsement – helped put it into operation.

Kingston died Sept. 25 at the age of 79 at a retirement center in Shelton, Wash., and worked for Hormel Foods Corp. for 33 years before retiring in 1981, when he was a vice president.

He was named a National Hog Farmer Service Award winner in 1986 for his contributions to the industry.

Today, the National Pork Producers Council is a strong, highly influential organization, but there was a time when its very existence was threatened. That occurred when the NPPC pushed the 5 cents per-head pork checkoff to raise money to promote pork.

In the mid-1960s, Hormel Foods Corp.’s support of the checkoff was credited with breaking the resistance and helping the checkoff become mandatory

Hormel Foods, through Kingston’s urging, became the first packer to adopt the "implied consent" basis of the checkoff.

The former Hormel Foods hog buyer, who became a vice president in charge of pork operations, is credited with convincing the Austin-based company to support the checkoff.

During his tour of duty as a Hormel Foods executive, he was a leader in developing the production-tested barrow contest at the National Barrow Show.

Kingston also helped the national swine judging contest, held in conjunction with the NBS, become a truly national competition for universities and colleges, junior colleges and community colleges and Future Farmers of American chapters and 4-H clubs.

National Hog Farmer magazine eulogized him as a "pioneer of the pork industry."