The National Pork Board will elect new officers and continue implementing its new strategic plan when it meets on June 10 during World Pork Expo in Des Moines.
Board President Tim Bierman, a pork producer from Larrabee, Iowa, will complete his six-year service on the board - including a year as president - once Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack formally appoints new board members from the nominations he received from the producer delegates at Pork Industry Forum this spring. Gene Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, Ark., is the current vice president of the board. The new officers will serve a one-year term.

The board in January adopted a five-year strategic plan, "Leading a World-Class Food Industry: Responsible. Sustainable. Professional. Profitable." Included in that plan were specific recommendations that the board:

• Review its governance structure to assure the board's relationship with its producer-led committees remains representative of all viewpoints of the industry while remaining nimble enough to make rapid changes to address new and emerging threats.

• Consider a budgeting process that takes into account that some programs - such as research - cannot start and stop quickly. The recommendation calls for the board to consider a process that projects expenditures in major program areas for three-to-five years - without making budgetary commitments to future years.
• Review how the board and state pork organizations can collaborate more effectively.

At its meeting during Pork Industry Forum in March, the board authorized the creation of producer-led task forces to address each of those recommendations. All three task forces will have met prior to World Pork Expo. The board expects to hear a progress report and to discuss any recommendations coming from the task force members.

"The new strategic plan identified three critical issues that the board must address on behalf of producers and their Pork Checkoff over the next five years," Bierman said. "They are: Protecting the ability of U.S. farmers to produce pork in a socially responsible and cost-competitive manner; repositioning pork's image to increase demand; and helping producers remain competitive long-term on a global basis.

"The plan also recognizes that change in the pork industry is accelerating," Bierman added. "For us - as the National Pork Board - to be able to respond to that change and the complex issues that can accompany change, we need to be flexible and ready to respond quickly. The recommendations we get from the task forces should help us achieve that."

Also on the board's agenda are reports on a possible coordinated national trust and image effort involving multiple agricultural organizations; on swine disease surveillance; and on the new USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Meetings of the National Pork Board are open to the public. Those wishing to attend are asked to contact Lorraine Garner, lgarner@pork.org, (515) 223-2600.
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.