On the table at this year’s Pork Act Delegate meeting at National Pork Forum, was a proposed checkoff funding increase.

South Dakota delegates proposed a resolution to consider raising the Mandatory Pork Checkoff by 5 cents up to 45 cents per $100 value in hog sales.

Currently all U.S. producers contribute 40 cents for every $100 of sales value to the checkoff. The checkoff has held at this rate since 1996. Pork importers use a sales formula to contribute a similar amount to the national checkoff coffers. These monies are used for national as well as state programs, as state associations get a percentage of their checkoff dollars returned to them.

Among the Pork Act Delegates’ annual responsibilities is to evaluate and determine the checkoff rate. Participating at this year’s meeting were 152 delegates from 45 states and pork importers who sell pork products in the United States.

An extended and varied debate on the idea occurred during the Friday meeting and into the evening state delegate discussions, in anticipation of the vote on Saturday. In the end, South Dakota withdrew the resolution. “We all need to be prepared to discuss this topic at the state level, with our fellow producers,” said Steve Rommereim, a producer delegate from South Dakota. “We need to take a good close look at this and discuss this for the future. We (South Dakota) wanted to raise this issue; we (Pork Act Delegates) don’t have a lot to address, but this is a main charge and it’s very important.”

NPB President Gene Nemechek reiterated that sentiment, telling the delegates: “This accomplished three things. That checkoff rate is one of your main duties; it brought forth a lot of good discussion about what you want to do in the future; built awareness that the Pork Board needs to have a dialogue with producers, industry, states and the National Pork Producers Council.

At the meeting, the National Pork Board approved a 2011 budget for national spending of $62.3 million for pork industry research, education and promotion programs. Among that is $28.4 million, which will be spent on a new ad campaign “Pork. Be Inspired” and promotions to increase domestic pork expenditures.

The Pork Act Delegates did pass two advisements to NPB. One was that NPB continue to be involved in discussions regarding porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus elimination, and support research and education toward developing tools and strategies for PRRS virus elimination. 

The other involved supporting NPB’s involvement in such programs as the U.S. Farm and Ranch Alliance, with the intent to advance balanced information on modern agriculture and “it’s role in feeding people and providing safe, wholesome, affordable food.”