Distinguished Alumni

Mr. Ernie Barnes

Mr. Ernie Barnes

Mr. Ernie Barnes (bachelor of science in Animal Science 1974) is industry services director for the National Pork Board serving pork producers and state associations nationwide.

Mr. Barnes was involved in a highly competitive livestock judging team before taking off in his professional career. He first worked with Bryan Foods and The Upjohn Company prior to finding his real passion of working with pork producers as the first full-time southeastern field representative for the American Yorkshire Club. From there, he has worked to make the industry better by helping pork producers for over 40 years.

Mr. Barnes helped develop the first World Pork Expo in 1988, an event that he is still involved with today; initiated the Pork Alliance, the National Pork Producers Council's allied industry program; and created the Pork Action Group or PAG.

Throughout the years, Mr. Barnes has formed grassroots organizations, encouraged Pork Checkoff involvement, assisted with legislative issues, introduced new production techniques, and coordinated educational events. "At least once a week, throughout my career, I've met someone and started a conversation that related back to my livestock judging team at MSU," he said. For that reason, he gives back having officiated at more than 100 livestock judging contests to date.

The New Albany, Mississippi native and his wife, Paula, have two children and five grandchildren. They live on a small farm in Earlham, Iowa where they built and manage Barnes’ Place, an event barn that hosts about 50 weddings a year.