The National Pork Board’s Pork Act Delegates participated in the National Pork Forum last week in Dallas. In all, 161 delegates representing 45 states and importers conducted their two-day business meeting to discuss resolutions and set direction for research, education and promotion programs for the year ahead.

NPB is responsible for collecting and distributing Mandatory Pork Checkoff funds, which equals 40 cents of every $100 of market hog sales. Importers follow a sales formula that calculates a similar checkoff contribution.

NPB approved a 2009 budget for its national programs of $57 million. About $20.8 million is focused on domestic pork expenditures, reported Chris Novak, NPB chief executive officer. State producer associations also receive a share of the checkoff revenue generated by their producers, the amount varies due to a formula within the Pork Act, but a state is insured to receive at least 16 percent.

“The National Pork Board’s 2009 goals reflect a commitment to increase demand for pork products,” said Steve Weaver, NPB president. He pointed to NPB’s commitments in on-going programs such as:

  • The “We Care” program, a joint industry initiative with the National Pork Board, to reflect pork producers’ responsibilities to their animals, consumers, community, employees and community. It’s designed to help pork industry’s earn regulators’ and consumers’ trust, said Weaver.
  • Nutritional Efficiency Consortium, which NPB formed to conduct research to help producers reduce or optimize feed costs and maximize production efficiencies for growth and feed conversion.
  • Pork Quality Assurance Plus, a three-part process that includes producers and their employees participating in education and training sessions on animal handling and care, and best production practices. It includes an on-farm assessment. As the third leg of the program, it involves a database and random, third-party evaluation of the program effectiveness. The point is to measure and confirm the industry’s animal care practices.
  • Neighbor-to-Neighbor, is an image communication effort that builds off of NPB’s Operation Main Street speaker program. The point is for producers to speak for the industry at the local level.
  • Exports, which set a 17th consecutive annual record in 2008, also will remain a priority in 2009, as the industry now exports 15 percent to 20 percent of its annual production overseas.

While in Dallas, the delegates passed a resolution that requires all Pork Act delegates and their production-based employees to complete the PQA Plus program, including an on-farm assessment by the 2010 Pork Forum. The delegates then went on to recommend that all U.S. producers commit to the same effort. The “We Care” program received the delegates’ ringing endorsement and charged NPB and state affiliates to communicate and promote the program to producers nationwide.

The delegates want NPB to assess market hog unloading procedures at packing plants and elsewhere. The effort is to include input from producers, the scientific community and others in order to determine if and what improvements are needed. 

NPB’s 2010 annual meeting will be held in Kansas City, Mo.