At this time last year, no one had signed up for the National Pork Producers Council's Producer-Consent Program. Now, 530 producer entities, representing 16 million hogs have signed up for the voluntary funding program, says Don Buhl, NPPC vice president, Tyler, Minn. This equates to a gross of about $200,000. So far, Missouri leads with the greatest producer participation.

Pork producers who sign up voluntarily for the program contribute $0.10 per $100 of marketed value per hog. The money is used for legislative, regulatory and public policy issues. Originally the funds were split 50/50 between NPPC and the producer association tied to the animal's state of origin. But at this year's Pork Industry Forum delegates voted to give NPPC 75 percent of the money, with 25 percent going to the states.

Along with producers, more packers have signed up for NPPC's Producer-Consent Program. Eight packers are now working with NPPC to collect the voluntary fee. According to Pat McGonegle, NPPC vice president of resource development, the packers are: Farmland, Hatfield, Hormel, Tyson Fresh Meats, United Producers, Producers Livestock Marketing Association, Routh Packing, Montana Hog Marketing Group and Excel.

Others soon to come on board are Swift, Seaboard, Bryan and John Morrell & Co.

Buhl says that NPPC's goal is to sign up 20,000 producer entities, equaling 60 million hogs in the next year.