John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Ia, served as a delegate at the Pork Act Delegate assembly March 5-7 in Dallas, Texas. Weber was named a delegate by the former Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer.
Weber was one of 161 delegates who represented producers from 45 states and importers who sell pork products in the United States. The delegates are charged with helping to provide direction to the pork promotion, research and consumer information programs that are funded by the Pork Checkoff through the National Pork Board. Producers contribute 40 cents of every $100 of sales to the Checkoff, and importers use a sales formula to contribute a similar amount. That money helps producers support pork promotions such as the Don't be blah consumer campaign, TheOtherWhiteMeat.com Web site and research into animal welfare, food safety, swine health, environment and other topics.
"Pork Checkoff programs are continually working toward the end result of yielding positive results for pork producers, creating a favorable market for pork and pork products," said Weber. "U.S. Pork broke export records for the 17th consecutive year."
The National Pork Board approved a 2009 budget for national programs of $57 million. About $20.8 million is focused on domestic pork expenditures.
"Several of the National Pork Board's goals for 2009 reflect a commitment to increasing demand for pork products," said Weber. "The Other White Meat Tour, for example, helps increase the sales of pork by directly connecting consumers with many positive aspects of our product."
The Checkoff also is at work in ongoing programs that include efforts to provide science-based answers and educational opportunities including:
The 'We Care', a responsible pork initiative, which is a coordinated effort of the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council to earn the trust of the pork industry's customers as well as regulators and consumers.
Nutritional Efficiency Consortium, which the Checkoff formed to conduct research that will assist producers reduce and/or optimize feed costs and maximize production efficiencies for growth and feed conversion.
Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus), which is a three-part process that includes attending an educational and training session and then having an on-farm site evaluation to achieve PQA Plus site status. The program also includes a third component of random, statistically valid, third-party evaluation of program implementation. Results of those evaluations will show if the industry is improving its overall animal-care practices.
Neighbor-to-Neighbor, which builds on the success of Operation Main Street to help pork producers represent their industry on the local level.
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-PORK or check the Internet at www.pork.org