America's pork producers honored Al Christian with the 2003 Distinguished Service Award during a banquet March 8 at the National Pork Industry Forum in Dallas, Texas. The Distinguished Service Award is given annually by the National Pork Board to recognize outstanding contributions for the betterment of the pork industry.

"The Christian name is a legend in the pork industry and certainly at Iowa State," says Tom Floy, a NPB member and a pork producer from Thornton, Iowa. "To many students, Al is much more than a teacher - he is a friend they could go to for advice and counsel, even long after graduation."

Several past and present pork industry leaders were students of his at Iowa State University while he managed the swine teaching farm. "He taught his students how to raise hogs, but perhaps even more important, he taught them about life, always emphasizing the vital role hog farming and agriculture play in the social fabric of rural America," adds Floy.

Christian is active in the pork industry, both in supporting international sales of U.S. seedstock and in helping international visitors select animals for U.S. breeders. The ISU teaching farm has become a regular stop for visitors who want to see U.S. pork production methods.

Christian was instrumental in the development of Symbol, the representation of the ideal market hog. Christian also provided hogs and other support for the Pork Checkoff-funded PORK 101, and the Pork Value and Lean Value contests, which led to the development of the Fat-Free Lean Index. "Whenever there is a pork industry project with the goal to improve pigs and they way they are raised, Christian can be counted on to help," says Floy.

National Pork Board