KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Change is inevitable, and in front of an audience at the National Pork Industry Forum last week in Kansas City, Mo., National Pork Board CEO Chris Novak at how the industry can take control of the challenges associated with change to lead the industry and strengthen the relationship we have with consumers, retailers and packers.

With the help of audience participation, Novak examined today's changing world that pork producers are facing.

“Our world has changed because we do have 24/7 media coverage, and there are folks looking to fill a lot of holes. And they are looking for any story they can get. And we’ve seen that in coverage of some of the animal rights attacks,” Novak said. “We have a lot of self-anointed experts. Folks that believe they have a good understanding of agriculture.”

Unfortunately, as Missouri hog producer Chris Chinn explained in earlier session at the Pork Forum, some of these experts have not even spoken with pork producers or set foot on a farm.

In an age where everything is accessible on the Internet, it’s these self-proclaimed experts who will tell consumers about practices they didn’t care about before, including blunt-force euthanasia, gestation stalls and using feedback to help build immunity to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

“We are facing more visibility and transparency, and that’s something we will have to get comfortable with,” Novak added.

However, fighting change isn't necessarily the best option. Novak suggested “examining what we do every day and ensuring we are doing the right thing.”

“We have to, as an industry, work to together to find where we are willing to make change, what changes we need to make, and where we do need to stand and fight,” he said.