The National Pork Board has reached an agreement with the National Pork Producers Council to purchase the Pork: The Other White Meat trademark. USDA will ultimately have to approve the final contract.

NPPC created the trademark slogan in 1985, prior to the Pork Act. That act created the mandatory pork checkoff, which also produced NPB, the industry's promotion, research and education directed association. 

NPB has been licensing the rights to Pork: The Other White Meat trademark/slogan from NPPC for approximately $800,000 a year. .

Under the proposed purchasing terms, NPB will make annual payments of $3 million to NPPC for 20 years, including 6.5 percent interest. That brings the final total value to around $65 million. Detailed appraisals, including estimates of costs to replace the slogan helped determine the purchase price, notes Danita Rodibaugh, NPB president. 

The agreement does include a provision that allows NPB to end the purchase process if the mandatory checkoff rate is reduced from the current level of 40 cents per $100 value of hogs sold or if there's other significant disruption to the checkoff. In that event, the previous licensing agreement would be enacted for three years, allowing time to negotiate new terms or to transition to a new brand.

In turn, NPPC has a revenue source that nearly doubles its annual finances. NPPC receives no checkoff dollars, instead generates its funds solely by voluntary stockholder investments. It is the pork industry's public policy, legislative and regulatory watchdog.

"This (purchase) is significant because it's important that all of America's pork producers own one of the industry's most valuable assets," says Rodibaugh. According to a 2000 Northwestern University study, Pork: The Other White Meat is one of the five most recognizable taglines in American advertising.

"It would simply be unwise to invest significant amounts of money in a campaign to build on the success of Pork: The Other White Meat without knowing that we always will be able to use that trademark," says Rodibaugh.

It will allow NPB to expand advertising and promotions, getting greater mileage out of its efforts.

National Pork Board/National Pork Producers Council