The National Pork Board has launched a new section to its Web site to help connect pork producers with consumers who want to buy specialty pork products. 

"This is unique, because it brings together a variety of pork production and marketing resources," says Scott Long, a pork producer from Manteca, Calif., and NPB member. "This is one way the pork checkoff is at work to provide access to the knowledge and opportunities that allow all producers to compete."

NPB designed the Web site to connect producers, packers and buyers across the country. It is a way for pork producers, regardless of operation size, to learn more about niche marketing and unique production practices. 

It's also a way for consumers to locate sources of specialty pork products. Any pork producer who is marketing pork outside of the traditional commodity marketing channels can be included in the database. To be included, contact NPB at (800) 456-PORK.

"The 'locate a producer' link will provide a way for restaurants and individuals to contact specific producers directly," says Long. "My farm is listed, which may bring more business my way."

He points out other features: "If I were just getting started in niche marketing, I might need to find someone to harvest my hogs. Then I'd use the 'locate a packer' link to see a list of packers across the country who work with niche producers."

Dale Trebesh, of Minnesota, is another pork producer who is listed in the database.  "We raise drug-free hogs and started niche marketing three years ago," Trebesh says. "It does take a lot of work, but it has been rewarding." 

Three years ago, Trebesh started producing natural pork products and marketed them at 10 locations, including two farmers' markets. 

Trebesh described his experiences as a niche marketer during NPB's 2003 NichePORK Conference, which focused on what pork producers need to know to transform product marketing ideas into a business plan. Information from the 2003 NichePORK Conference, including full audio of each presentation, is available on NPB's Web site at www.porkboard.org.

In addition to the database of pork producers and processors, the niche marketing area includes links to related information at universities, Extension, USDA and NPB.  A calendar will provide information on conferences related to niche pork. To contribute news, calendar items or other updates, contact NPB at (800) 456-PORK.  

National Pork Board