The National Pork Producers Council depends entirely on voluntary contributions to fund its activities, which address legislative, regulatory and public policy issues effecting the U.S. pork industry. NPPC receives no money from the national pork checkoff, however, the National Pork Board does co-op on some industry research initiatives with NPPC.

In 2003, NPPC collected $1.5 million in voluntary funds from producers. It has set a near-term goal to increase that to at least $4.5 million.

So, it’s no surprise that the driving discussion at this year’s NPPC Delegate Body meeting held last week centered on funding.

NPPC renamed and revitalized its Producer Consent Program to the Strategic Investment Program. It asks producers to contribute 10 cents per $100 value of each market hog sold.

Nearly 800 producers from 35 states are participating in the program.

One of the approved resolutions asks contract growers to contribute $100 annually to the voluntary fund.

Another resolution addressed strategies in the event that the national pork checkoff is discontinued. Should that occur, delegates agreed that NPPC’s voluntary funding system would immediately move to 45 cents per $100 value per market hog sold. Also, “after the timely disposition of NPB activities, NPPC shall request” that appropriate functions and activities be transferred to NPPC consistent with producer priorities and funding availability.  

Several other resolutions were discussed, with the more significant decisions as follows:

  • That NPPC work with Congress to support legislation that establishes a science-based, affordable, achievable and sustainable, mandatory national animal-identification system.
  • That NPPC work with a coalition of ag-industry representatives, retailers and processors to develop strategies to address (activist) issues that impact the U.S. pork industry’s long-term viability.
  • That NPPC ask USDA to review its polices and procedures regarding animal welfare and handling during transport and at packing plants, and implement an updated set of criteria that “focuses on practicality and common sense.”

The other significant resolution that stood out from the rest involves an industry task force that is investigating the prospect of establishing a single industry organization. The delegates recommended that task force present “final recommendations to both NPPC and NPB boards” by this year’s World Pork Expo. Among the elements that the task force will consider is how to establish a single board, staff and office; and how to increase industry’s voluntary funding contributions to such an organization.

At the meeting’s conclusion, Jon Caspers retired as NPPC’s president, and Keith Barry, a pork producer from Indiana was elected to the post. Don Buhl from Tyler, Minn., is the new vice president, and Joy Phillippi, from Bruning, Neb., is the new vice-president elect.

Producers elected to three-year terms on NPPC’s Board of Directors, were: Ric Morren, South Dakota; Joy Phillippi; Don Buhl; and Jim Quakenbush, Minnesota. Representing the allied-industry council as an associate member is Chuck Loefer, with ADM Animal Health and Nutrition.

NPPC also announced a new Web site that it has designed to connect producers with congressional representatives and news media.

Called the Legislative Action Center (at http://capwiz.com/nppc/home/), the site will provide producers with information on legislation and regulatory issues under congressional consideration that affect their businesses. It will provide letters that producers can e-mail to their representatives. The site also will provide information on news media and how to contact those entities; background information on congressmen; and election information.