The slow economy is taking a toll on everyone, including the National Pork Board. As a direct result of three different market circumstances – and lower than expected hog prices – NPB is looking to make some budget adjustments over the next three years.

According to Steven Murphy, NPB’s chief executive officer, the board is faced with three market negatives:

  • A checkoff rate adjustment from 45 cents to 40 cents per $100 value for live hogs, which will go into effect in October. This will create an 11.5 percent revenue decrease.
  • 2002, live-hog prices hit a downturn, which dropped revenues about $10 million (20 percent) than originally anticipated. Some of this stems from the Russian poultry ban, which caused a backlog of chicken in the United States. Beef production is up this year as well, creating large supplies of meat. Early 2002 cold storage supplies for all meats (pork, beef and chicken) are up 30 percent for the same period last year. Live-hog numbers also are higher than originally predicted.
  • The long-term outlook now points to 2003 revenues at $41 million, a 15 percent decrease from projected 2002 levels.

Due to these circumstances, Murphy says NPB’s is planning to budget more sustainable spending levels around the $40- to $43-million range by 2004.

To do this, NPB plans to focus its checkoff resources on programs that make the greatest impact on the industry and affect the most producers. Murphy says the staff will focus on reducing costs of implementing programs versus eliminating them. He notes there are some programs that the pork checkoff will not be able to fund in the future, but didn’t provide specific details.

NPB’s plan is to evaluate producer feedback from a variety of surveys, including those conducted at Pork Forum and World Pork Expo. It also will prioritize programs; and work with the Plan of Work Task Force to focus resources in essential areas.

One new project that NPB is assisting with is the launch of a new magazine – Plate. It will target restaurant chefs. NPB will provide photos, articles and other information to help put pork on more white-tablecloth restaurant menus.

Also, at WPX, NPB unveiled a new checkoff logo (shown here) to better identify checkoff funded programs, research and projects.