Don Butler, director of government relations for Smithfield Foods, has been appointed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to the newly created N.C. Food Manufacturing Task Force.

In creating the Task Force, McCrory pointed out that agribusiness is the backbone of North Carolina's economy, and that agribusiness is the state's growth industry of the future.

McCrory charged the Task Force with developing a strategic business plan to leverage existing activities in food processing and manufacturing; establishing a statewide food processing and manufacturing organization, directory and data base; creating a plan to develop a proactive industrial recruitment campaign for new business development; and initiating a plan to foster the growth of food manufacturing entrepreneurial endeavors, enhance development of innovative food products and processes, and provide sector-specific regulatory training and outreach.

The Task Force has 35 members from the areas of agriculture, food processing and packaging, transportation, education, government and economic development.

Butler began his career in the pork industry in 1991 with Carroll's Foods. During his time at the company, which was acquired by Smithfield in 1999, Butler developed an Environmental Management System (EMS), designed to meet ISO 14001 standards. In March of 2001, Carroll's was the first livestock production company in the world to become ISO 14001 certified. Subsequently, all Smithfield farms in the United States are now ISO 14001 certified.

Butler also owns and operates a contract pig nursery operation with his father. He is past president and board member of the N.C. Pork Council and served as president and on the board of directors for the National Pork Producers Council.