With 12 months under their belt, Pork America officials say priorities for year two will include converting identified opportunities into firm commitments and functioning businesses. Since the producer cooperative’s launch in December 1999, organizers have focused resources on building shareholder membership and identifying potential business ventures.
In a year-end summary, Pork America’s board of directors outlined the following accomplishments:
- Proof-of -Concept Plant - Pork America has identified several existing small packing/processing facilities that could be used as a proof-of-concept plant. Such an operation could generate revenues to fuel further developments, and serve as a proving ground to demonstrate the co-op’s ability to develop and deliver products meeting specified quality and consistency standards. Pork America is evaluating which plant would be most advantageous to operate.
- Pork America Packing/Processing Plant – The co-op is determining the feasibility of owning and operating a full-scale, state-of-the-art packing/processing plant of the size and scale that can generate significant, long-term shareholder profits.
At the same time, a city is courting Pork America with offers to assist in building such a facility. Pork America also is moving forward to secure contracts for the meat it expects to produce.
- Partnerships, Joint Ventures - Pork marketers and merchandisers are talking with Pork America about partnership and joint-venture opportunities. Using a “proof-of -concept plant” as a test ground, these discussions can quickly convert into formal contracts for Pork America shareholders.
- Shareholders - To date, Pork America’s shareholder base includes producers and producer groups representing 10 percent of annual U.S. pork production. By year’s end, that number is expected to be 20 percent or more.
To accomplish Pork America’s second-year goals John McNutt has stepped down as the cooperative’s director of development. "The work completed to date has been significant to our organization’s future," says Pork America Board Chairman Jack Rundquist. "Now it's time to begin turning investor dollars into profit-generating businesses so we can pursue other new business ventures. John McNutt helped bring us to this point and has successfully completed his assignment."
Additional decisions regarding staff, structure, appointments and resource deployment to meet second-year goals will come in the next 60 to 90 days, according to a Pork America news release. The producer-elected board of directors will continue to serve as both board and staff until these decisions are made.
Pork America is a "new generation cooperative" created by producers. By unifying resources, dollars and pigs, Pork America is helping build and invest in value-driven business ventures designed to ensure profit return to shareholders, according to the news release. More information on Pork America is available at www.porkamerica.com .