In 2008, the National Pork Producers Council added 369 new investors to its Strategic Investment Program, bringing the total to more than 2,100 members.

“Twenty four states increased their revenue contributions in 2008, for a total of $4.7 million,” Sam Carney, NPPC’s president-elect, told producer delegates attending last week’s National Pork Industry Forum in Dallas. Entering its seventh year, SIP is NPPC’s primary funding mechanism.

NPPC is responsible for addressing public policy, legislative and regulatory issues on its pork producer members’ behalf. Unlike its counterpart, the National Pork Board, NPPC receives no mandatory checkoff dollars.

In the year ahead, NPPC’s SIP goals are to increase awareness and participation in the program, expand membership to include more contract growers and to retain the members it has. Carney told the group that there will be an increased commitment to “keep members informed on NPPC’s challenges as well as the deliverables.”

In other business and financial changes for the organization, NPPC’s Board of Directors also approved the sale of Validus, a subsidiary company owned by NPPC. “The board decided we (NPPC) needed to focus on our core competencies—public policy priorities,” said Neil Dierks, NPPC’s chief executive officer. “The Validus business model covers a lot more ground—reaches across other ag sectors, not just the pork industry,” he added.

Validus was sold to a group of investors headed up by its current chief executive officer, Earl Dotson. The sale, a cash transaction, has been completed but the details were not disclosed. Dierks indicated that Validus is in the process of moving its offices to another location as the two groups had shared offices, but the exact location is to be determined.

In his report to NPPC’s producer delegates, Dierks told the group, “I see pork producers who are focusing, coming together, identifying the problem and saying ‘let’s go fix it’.” His point was that he sees a strong sense of activity and commitment among NPPC members today. He told pork producers that “NPPC is on a firm foundation,” but that “we have to raise our own bar.” Dierks asked the membership for three specific things:

  • “Do the right thing and be responsible. The amount of scrutiny that we’re facing today is nothing like what we will face in the future,” he said.
  • “Tell your story,” he told producers. More specifically, that producers need to explain their businesses and the many proactive programs that the pork industry has in place to ensure that pork products are safe, nutritious and high quality for domestic and global consumers.
  • “The third item is specific to NPPC—be engaged in your organizations, in the local, state and national levels,” Dierks said.