Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, is turning up the volume this summer through its newest relationships, which include award-winning, Platinum selling country music hit-maker Randy Houser. Houser joins esteemed celebrities including NASCAR driver Aric Almirola, NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, and ABC and ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit as a brand spokesperson. Through the new partnership with Houser, Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, becomes an integral part of the country music landscape from coast to coast.

Eckrich will be integrated into Houser's headlining performances this year and Houser will become prominent in the brand's advertising, marketing and public relations efforts. The brand's affiliation with Houser, however, will go beyond the stage and advertising and into the lives of our nation's military families. Houser has long supported the military and their families, including performing for servicemen and women stationed in Iraq.

As part of the relationship with Eckrich, Houser will participate in the Eckrich "Operation Inspiration" campaign, which honors, thanks and supports military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Houser will be featured with Eckrich on CMT Hot 20 Countdown paying tribute to military families throughout the summer and will help Eckrich host and honor military families at his concerts.

"It's going to be a great summer with Eckrich," commented Houser. "We're going to 'bring the smoke' on the stage this summer and have a lot of fun at our concerts with them. Eckrich is a great brand, doing a lot of great things, especially with our military families and their Operation Inspiration campaign. I can't wait to be a part of that and help make a difference. I'm honored to have them support me and can't wait to begin this partnership."    

The Eckrich mobile sampling tour will also be seen, and heard, at Houser concerts this year. The sampling tour will host pre-concert tailgate parties and sample its popular smoked sausage at Houser concert venues. If they can't make it to see Houser, fans of country music will still have plenty of opportunities to be entertained. As the tour travels across the country to various events, from country music festivals to college football games, consumers will be introduced to the next rising stars of country music performing as part of the sampling tour, including Sammy Arriaga, Chris Cavanaugh, Weston Burt, Drew Baldridge and Adam Sanders.

Eckrich will make it even easier for fans across the country to hear music from one artist of note, Sammy Arriaga, who is currently a performer at Rippy's Bar & Grill on the popular Broadway Street in Nashville. Eckrich will make his music available to download for free on its Facebook page beginning May 1.

"The popularity of country music has never been greater, and many Eckrich consumers are country music fans," said Chuck Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for John Morrell Food Group. "We couldn't be more excited to welcome Randy Houser as a spokesperson for Eckrich.  His personality and values really fit with our mission of making rich family moments.  Like us, Randy is also passionate about supporting our families in the military and we are honored to have him join us in these efforts.  We also welcome all the country music artists who will perform this summer on behalf of Eckrich and Operation Inspiration.  We believe that this will create a fun and meaningful experience for many loyal Eckrich fans. "

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