The MEAT INDUSTRY HALL of FAME is delighted to announce the keynote speaker at this year's Induction Ceremony and Dinner will be the legendary Charles "Charlie" Stenholm, a member of the United States House of Representatives serving 13 terms, from 1979 to 2005.

Stenholm graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. and an M.S. degree in Agriculture Education. He was elected to the House as a Democrat in 1978, representing Texas' 17th District. One of the most conservative Democrats in the House, he belonged to the Blue Dog Coalition and was a leader of the Boll Weevils during the 1980s. His main interests were agriculture and budget matters.

For six years, he was ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. He worked closely with committee chairman, Republican Larry Combest of the neighboring 19th District to shepherd the 2002 Farm Bill through Congress. He was a longtime supporter of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He earned a reputation for building bipartisan alliances in areas as diverse as agriculture, resource conservation, food safety, Social Security, energy, health care, and budgeting.

Since 2005, Stenholm has been a senior policy advisor with Olsson Frank Weeda, a Washington law firm that specializes in representing food, drug, and agriculture interests before material federal agencies. He has served as Co-Chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and on the Boards of Directors for the Concord Coalition, Business and Industry Political Action Committee, and the American Council for Capital Formation. He is also a member of the Farm Foundation Round Table and a member of the 25×25 Steering Committee.

The MEAT INDUSTRY HALL of FAME Induction Ceremony and Dinner, honoring the seven members of the Class of 2015, will be held the evening of November 2 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. just prior to the first full day of the North American Meat Institute's Annual Meeting and Outlook Conference.

Tickets for the Ceremony and Dinner are available from the MEAT INDUSTRY HALL of FAME by contacting Chuck Jolley at 913.205.3791 or Chuck@MeatIndustryHallofFame.com. For more information about NAMI's Annual Meeting and Conference or to register, go to www.meatinsititute.org and click on the 'Events' tab.

Among the Meat Industry Hall of Fame Members inducted since the organization's founding in 2008 are such household names as Dave Thomas, Frank Perdue, Ray Kroc, Don Tyson and Jimmy Dean, along with such well-known industry leaders as Dick Knowlton, Temple Grandin, Gary Smith, Rosemary Mucklow and Ken Monfort.

The members of the Distinguished Class of 2015 and their career highlights are summarized below:

William (Bill) Buckner, President, Cargill Meat Solutions
William (Bill) Buckner serves as one of five members of Cargill's leadership team, where his retirement in August will cap a 28 year career with that company. From the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993, to the discovery of BSE in the United States in 2003, Buckner has helped lead the beef industry in dealing with its share of challenges.

During his career at Cargill, Buckner served as Corporate Vice President of SA/NV, Senior Vice President of Cargill Limited and President of Cargill Meat Solutions. In addition, he served as a Director of Teys Australia Pty. Ltd. and as Director of MetaMorphix Inc. from September 2003 to October 24, 2006.

Jo Ann Smith, Former President, National Cattlemen's Association; Former Assistant Secretary of Agriculture
Jo Ann Smith became deeply involved in the beef industry as a member of the Florida Beef Council and later as an appointee to USDA's Animal Technical Advisory Committee on Livestock and Livestock Products, the Foreign Animal Disease Advisory Committee and the Meat Pricing Task Force. She was the founding chairperson of the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board and served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services.

But her greatest accomplishments came when she was elected in 1985 as the first woman president of the National Cattlemen's Association. In that role, she was widely regarded as one of the industry's most effective leaders and was credited with persuading producers to establish the Beef Checkoff, which launched a new era of marketing and promotion.

C.W. "Bill" McMillan, Vice President for Washington Affairs, National Cattlemen's Association; Co-Founder, U.S. Meat Export Federation
Bill McMillan has had a profound influence, often behind the scenes, on the US beef industry and on international trade. His career began as a County Agent near Fort Collins, Colo. Later, he joined the National Cattlemen's Association, rising by the 1960s to Vice President for Washington Affairs. In that role, he helped with the passage of the 1964 Meat Import Law by which resulted in significant trade benefits for the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

McMillan was a key player in negotiations leading to the Wholesome Meat Act in 1967, which brought radically structural change to meat plants in the United States and abroad. He was involved in he inaugural conference of the Four-Nation Beef Group. Along with then-American Meat Institute President Richard Lyng, he co-founded, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, now the pre-eminent organization in global meat trade.

Edward C. Jones, President, Jones Dairy Farm (inducted posthumously)
Ed Jones played a major role in the development of Jones Dairy Farm, a Wisconsin-based pork processing company renowned throughout the industry for its high quality and innovation in processed meats. During his tenure at the helm of the family-run company, Jones was responsible for strong growth and expansion of the firm's operations. He initiated an aggressive quality-control program and instituted national advertising exposure that led to opportunities for distribution in supermarkets and retail outlets in all 50 states and even a few foreign countries.

James V. "Jim" Lochner, Chief Operating Officer, Tyson Foods (retired)
As Tyson Foods COO, Jim Lochner led thousands of team members responsible for producing high-quality foods safely, with a focus on humane handling and care for the land and the environment. After a long career at IBP Inc., which was acquired in 2001 by Tyson, Lochner retired in 2014.

During his tenure, he oversaw the company's poultry and fresh meat production operations, food processing, international divisions and renewable products. He also led several divisions that supported Tyson's key business units, including transportation, information services, product development, and environmental, health and safety services.

Laurence A. Bettcher, Chairman and CEO, Bettcher Industries (Retired)
Laurence Bettcher served as the President of Bettcher Industries since 1979, before retiring in 2014. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, he developed his company into a premier manufacturer of cutting tools used in food processing and other industrial applications.

Under his leadership, Bettcher developed the first mechanically powered hand-held meat trimmer in 1954. Since then, the company has introduced successive generations of trimmers sold under the Whizard and Bettcher Quantum brands, tools that are used in meat processing plants across the United States and in more than 50 foreign countries.

Wolf Ludwig, Founder, Wolf-tec and WTI
Wolfgang Peter Ludwig immigrated to the United States from West Germany in 1967 at age 23 with his wife Ursel and two young sons Ralf and Peter. He had been trained as a master sausage maker in a small Black Forest town near Baden-Baden, and he used that knowledge to launch a career in meat processing. After a decade of learning English while working for various U.S. processors and supplier companies, he pursued his dream of becoming an industry-leading manufacturer. Just 10 years after arriving in the United States, he started the company that now bears his name.