About us

Ray Hankes - Advisory Board Member

Ray Hankes - Advisory Board Member

Ray Hankes, PhD, specializes in management, consulting and contract opportunities in agriculture. He has experience in all phases of the pork industry, from on-farm production to processing and marketing. As a consultant, Ray has worked with multiple diverse national and international agricultural clients.

Ray was responsible for Tyson Foods (formerly IBP) complexes producing retail-ready fresh beef and pork products.  As Assistant to President of Fresh Meats (IBP), Ray coordinated the business plan for IBP’s entry into the fresh case ready beef and pork business which grew into a multi-billion dollar business. He developed and implemented new technologies for retail products while at IBP and Tyson Foods.

As a partner and owner of Thrushwood Farms, Fairbury, IL, Ray was an innovator and early adapter of high-efficiency pork production systems and methods. In addition to pork, Thrushwood Farms produced corn, soybeans, wheat and beef.

Ray served as president of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board. He was named to Pork Industry Hall of Fame and received the University Of Illinois Agriculture Alumni Award Of Merit.

Ray obtained a BS in Agricultural Sciences, a MS in Animal Science and a PhD in Meat Science and Ruminant Nutrition from the University of Illinois. Ray’s specialized training includes Advanced HACCP certification; LEAN Manufacturing; multiple courses on ethics, leadership, coaching and diversity; and Pork Quality Assurance Plus® certification.