While the national pork checkoff’s future remains in limbo. State producer associations are working to find solutions of their own.

In North Carolina, for example, if the flow of national pork checkoff funds ends, the state’s producer organization can continue its present activities from two other financial sources.
These include money that the association has accumulated in a rainy day fund and from the state’s special “non-checkoff checkoff”.

The latter is a 4-cent-per-head deduction that North Carolina packers already make, as mandated by state law. The packers pay the contribution monthly to the state Department of Agriculture, which sends it on to the North Carolina Pork Council. It totals about $500,000 a year income for NCPC.

“A producer can ask for a refund but this has happened only a couple of times in the 10 years it’s been going,” Walter Cherry, NCPC out-going executive director, relays. “This income and the council’s financial reserves would carry it, if necessary, for more than a year.”

Cherry says, a task force of members is developing a contingency plan for future funding. Information will be presented in early February to the council’s board of directors. Cherry’s departure of NCPC is unrelated to any checkoff issues.