John Starkey has announced his upcoming retirement as president of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY). A search committee for his replacement will be formed at the January USPOULTRY board meeting, and a selection process and timeline will be established. Once a successor is in place, Starkey will remain available in an advisory role for the remainder of 2023.

Starkey has been president of USPOULTRY since August 2007 when he succeeded retiring president, Don Dalton. Starkey began his professional career as an environmental engineer for Gold Kist in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1982 after completing his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Purdue University and a master’s degree in sanitary engineering at Georgia Tech. After several years at Gold Kist, Starkey joined Hudson Foods in Rogers, Arkansas, as director of environmental affairs. He later became a principal in the engineering firm of Vaughn, Coltrane & Associates when Hudson Foods was sold to Tyson Foods.

Throughout his industry career, Starkey was active in volunteer roles with USPOULTRY, serving as a member of the Research Advisory Committee and a frequent seminar speaker and planning committee member. In March 2000, he joined the association staff in the newly established position of vice president, environmental programs.

During his years as president, the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) extended its long run as the world’s largest annual poultry industry event. Through the IPPE, the organization continued to reinvest millions of dollars into the industry through research, education, communication and technical services.

Starkey was instrumental in many USPOULTRY accomplishments, including

  • The integration of the IPE/IFE, sponsored by USPOULTRY and AFIA, into IPPE, with the addition of NAMI as a partner. As a result of the integration and growth, the trade show floor has more than doubled, with USPOULTRY serving as managing partner. 
  • Managing USPOULTRY Foundation’s capital campaign that raised $11 million and whose corpus funds more than $1 million reinvested annually in research, student outreach and recruiting grants
  • Enhancing IT programs to provide IT assistance to 23 national, state and affiliate trade associations, as well as NPIP
  • Significantly increasing partnership with the National FFA organization, including programs that bring leading FFA students to IPPE
  • More than doubling participation in the Foundation College Student Career Program
  • Renovating and expanding existing office space and partnering with USAPEEC to house both organizations

“John has provided solid and visionary leadership to USPOULTRY for the past 15 years,” remarked Mike Levengood, Perdue Farms, 2022 chairman of the USPOULTRY board of directors. “He has provided consistent guidance through some very challenging times, particularly the [foundation] campaign and COVID-19 pandemic. And USPOULTRY and IPPE have grown significantly. Recognizing that level of leadership, John was also awarded the [association’s] highest annual award, the Workhorse of the Year, in 2015,” Levengood added.

“While such a decision is never easy, the time has come for me to step aside,” Starkey said. “USPOULTRY is a great organization, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to contribute throughout my career and for the last 23 years as a member of staff. The [association] is led by a strong, energetic board; a committed, experienced staff; and hundreds of volunteers across the industry. The [association] and IPPE have had a sound recovery following COVID. So, it’s an ideal time to pass the baton for new leadership and vision to continue our service to the poultry and egg industry.”

Source: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association