LaVerne Johnson, a native of Illinois, graduated from Purdue University in 1940 with a B.S. degree in Agriculture. While at Purdue he was on the varsity football team where he displayed the kind of enthusiasm he now has for agriculture. He began his career as a tenant farmer in 1941. Now, with his sons and daughters, he farms nearly 3,000 acres in conjunction with a 3,500 farrow-to-finish hog enterprise. La Verne Johnson has been a leader in the swine industry. He became a pioneer in the confinement rearing of swine as he made the economic decision early that the DeKalb County land he farmed had more valuable alternatives than to use for range areas for swine. He is one of the reasons that a Pork Producers - Association exists today. Johnson and agriculture teachers in his area formed a Swine Herd Improvement Association which he served as the first president. The National Swine Growers Council was formed in 1954 and Johnson served as president from 1961-63. In 1968 the organization name was changed to the National Pork Producers Association.
In addition, LaVerne Johnson has served his community as a school board. member, Junior College Board Chairman, on the County Fair Board and 4-H Club leader for more than 20 years.