Pork Checkoff creates research synergy

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America’s pork producers invest millions of dollars through their Pork Checkoff each year, but these dollars don’t work alone. For every dollar of Checkoff investment, nearly two additional dollars are drawn from outside sources to help find solutions to challenges that are facing the pork industry, according to a recent survey.

In 2012, the National Pork Board awarded more than $7 million in research grants to fund 88 projects related to swine health, food safety, public health, animal welfare, swine nutrition, swine genetics, the environment and human nutrition. This level of investment has been fairly typical in recent years, making the Pork Checkoff one of the largest sources of farmer-supported research in the nation.

“It’s fortunate that we can make this kind of investment in research to help find solutions to industry issues based on sound science,” says National Pork Board President Conley Nelson of Algona, Iowa. “This long-term investment also attracts additional funding from government agencies, third-party organizations and private industry. These outside investments help us move the research needle more quickly.”

Study shows 185 percent jump in additional research value
To better determine the return on investment in research made by America’s pork producers, the Checkoff reviewed projects funded from 2005 to 2009. The Checkoff also contacted researchers who worked on the projects. Nearly 80 percent of the 227 who were reached offered feedback on 320 of the 403 total Checkoff-funded projects.

The results showed that the $24.5 million invested in research from 2005 to 2009 directly resulted in more than $45 million of additional research. This is an increase of 185 percent in additional research value that benefitted the industry.

Initial Funding Draws More Research Dollars
A sometimes overlooked benefit of Checkoff-funded research is its ability to serve as seed money for a research program that leads to additional funding. Great examples include:

  • $750,000 commitment of Checkoff funding for the swine genome project that cost more than $30 million.
  • Combined $6.8 million in Checkoff funding for PRRS projects that helped leverage funds from groups, such as the PRRS Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP), to get more and bigger research projects accomplished faster than would be possible without Checkoff funding.

Results from Checkoff research provide vital information to veterinarians, nutritionists, production managers and other specialists that help them provide services to producers every day.

“The ongoing flow of information and science-based data from Checkoff researchers helps meet the demand for practical on-farm solutions,” Nelson says. “Maximizing producers’ investment is always a top concern.”

Visit pork.org/research to review findings from specific Checkoff-funded research projects.



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