The National Pork Producers Council's Strategic Investment Program cotinues to grow through voluntary producer investments. SIP is NPPC's primary funding source.
"NPPC and state organizations have made significant progress gaining producer participation and the pigs they represent," says Don Buhl, NPPC president-elect. "We (NPPC) are fighting for reasonable legislation and regulation, developing revenue and market opportunities and protecting the livelihoods of each and everyone participating in the pork industry."
So far this year, pork producers representing all production sizes and types that are investing in SIP increased from 700 to more than 1,000. States leading in producer participation are Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.
Pig numbers represented in the program increased from 31 percent to 37 percent of U.S. market hogs. Leading states in terms of pigs represented are Iowa, North Carolina, and Minnesota.
NPPC aims to have 1,400 producer entities, representing 50 percent of pigs, investing in SIP by March 2005.
"Most producers aren't participating simply because they haven't been asked," says Buhl, "And they don't realize NPPC receives zero funds from the mandatory checkoff for use in public policy issues."
To that end, NPPC will continue to increase awareness and education about
differences between the mandatory checkoff and SIP, and increase activity and coordination with state organizations.
To help spread the message about NPPC and SIP, NPPC has added new staff in the field talking to producers. In cooperation with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Pete Houska, Jr., now works in Iowa directly with producers. Additionally, NPPC developed a marketing plan to help it define NPPC's purpose and goals as well as implement strategies necessary for success.
NPPC officials point to recent examples of SIP in action include:
Educating both the Bush Administration and key congressional offices about the Australian de facto ban on U.S. pork.
Protecting the U.S. live-hog market by filing trade cases against live-hog imports from Canada.
Defeating an initiative that would have essentially eliminated liability protections from lawsuits against those who sell meat from so called "downer animals."
Playing an integral role in development of the National Animal Identification System for swine, making sure the animal identification program works efficiently for pork producers.
In addition to these actions, state organizations have been able to address critical issues in state legislatures and agencies.
SIP is estimated to generate about $2.5 million, or about 50 percent of NPPC's total revenue, in 2004. This is up from a contribution of $1.48 million in 2003.