Producer delegates from across the nation spent March 3-5 in Orlando, Fla., discussing issues and setting policy direction for the National Pork Producers Council for the year ahead.

It’s worth noting that NPPC receives no checkoff funds, it is funded through voluntary producer, and industry, contributions. The council addresses legislative, regulative and public policy issues.

Among the resolutions passed was one dealing with the National Animal Identification System, in which delegates expressed their support of a movement toward mandatory animal identification by 2007. USDA has so far proposed a voluntary program. However, the pork industry already has a mandatory ID program in place for most swine, and feels it’s a necessary step to ensure the long-term health of U.S. animal agriculture.

Delegates also directed NPPC to request funding from the Homeland Security Department to conduct agroterrorism vulnerability assessments within the pork industry. 

Animal welfare issues received some attention, and the delegates directed NPPC to conduct an impact assessment of animal rights/welfare activities on the U.S. pork industry. NPPC is to produce an annual report on where the organizations that promote anti-meat messages get their funding.

The delegates stood in support of the recently announced Air-Emissions Consent Agreement involving the Environmental Protection Agency. They encourage all producers to sign up by the May 1 deadline. They also charged NPPC with working to expand the EQIP and other cost-share environmental programs.

NPPC will establish a task force to make recommendations toward the 2007 Farm Bill, and report back to the 2006 NPPC Delegate Body.

After an exchange of comments supporting and opposing NPPC’s antidumping and countervailing duty cases against Canadian live hogs, the delegates voted to reaffirm their support for the council’s current position. The U.S. Commerce Department will submit its final ruling on the cases on March 7.

NPPC will develop a Policy Manual by the 2006 annual meeting. The objective is to develop a cohesive, up-to-date document that will help keep members informed on critical issues and the council’s position on those issues.

Don Buhl, the newly elected NPPC president, reported on the council’s Strategic Investment Program—it’s major funding source. It collected $6 million in the past year. Nearly 1,400 entities are involved with the program. “That involves many more producers, because one entity can include any number of producers,” he notes. Half of today’s market hogs are represented in the contributions. The challenge is to have 2,800 entities and 70 percent of the hogs involved in the program by March 2006. 

The voluntary SIP contribution rate is 10 cents per $100 value of a hog, or whatever amount an individual wishes to contribute.