The National Pork Board will travel to Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 12 to meet with Ohio pork producers as part of its January board meeting. While in Columbus, board members also will meet with three of its Ohio marketing partners.

The NPB has placed special emphasis on product marketing in its 2010 plan and budget to help producers who have endured nearly two years of profitability challenges.

On Jan. 13, board members will discuss retail marketing with executives of the Kroger Co., one of the nation's largest grocery retailers. They also will visit the headquarters of Bob Evans Farms, which operates more than 700 restaurants in 18 states, and the headquarters of Wendy's/Arby's Group, the nation's third largest quick service restaurant company with more than 10,000 restaurants.

On the agenda for Jan. 14 is final approval of a new strategic plan for the organization. Drafted by a task force of producers - including several board members - from across the country, the plan is expected to provide direction for how the board will use pork checkoff revenue to achieve industry objectives over the next five years.

Board members also will continue their discussion of the long-term brand positioning for pork and the role of The Other White Meat trademark

"Being able to meet directly with pork producers in their home states gives the board a terrific opportunity to hear directly what's on their minds," said Tim Bierman, an Iowa producer who serves as president of the 15-member National Pork Board. "From our previous meetings, we know that sometimes the issues of concern for California producers can be very different than those of producers in North Carolina."

Finally, the board will examine results of the "Farmers Feeding US" promotion that was supported by the pork checkoff and by other commodity organizations in Ohio.

Meetings of the National Pork Board are open to the public. Those interested in attending are asked to contact Lorraine Garner,, (515) 223-2600.

Source: NPB