DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a meeting Tuesday preceding the opening of the World Pork Expo, the National Pork Board (NPB) elected new officers for 2012/2013.

Conley Nelson, Algona, Iowa pork producer, was named NPB president for the 2012-2013 term. Nelson succeeds Everett Forkner, Richards, Mo., who will remain on the board’s Executive Committee as immediate past president. 

Nelson acknowledged the challenges currently facing all pork producers. "We’re seeing an increasing number of examples where those outside production agriculture are trying to dictate how we care for our animals. Our strategic plan is dedicated to preserving the ability of producers to make decisions about what works best for their farms and their animals," he said. Nelson is in his second, three-year term on the National Pork Board.
NPB members also elected Karen Richter, a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn., vice president. Richter, who has been the board’s treasurer the past year, operates a farrow-to-finish operation while raising corn, soybeans and wheat on 650 acres.

Dale Norton, a pork producer from Bronson, Mich., was named treasurer. Norton also serves as the NPB’s representative on the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

All three new officers will serve one-year terms beginning immediately. 

Outgoing NPB president Everett Forkner thanked all those who provided invaluable assistance to him through his tenure as president. “It has been a true honor for me to serve as NPB president for the past year.”

Other topics discussed in the meeting included detail of a Pork Checkoff return-on-investment study that showed for every dollar invested in checkoff funds pork producers receive a return of $17.

A review of the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence was also on the agenda. Pork industry support of the information and online learning portal varies widely and the future of the electronic resource will require significant further study.

Representatives of four land-grant universities were also present for an in-depth discussion on the reduced funding from state and federal sources for research projects. As a result, meeting the scientific research needs of the pork industry is increasingly difficult. The university representatives stressed the need for closer collaboration in developing new revenue-generating methods to fulfill the research requirements of the pork industry.

Research grants provided through Pork Checkoff total approximately $8 million per year.