National Pork Board to meet during National Pork Industry Conference

Planning for the National Pork Board’s 2011 budget begins in earnest next week when board members meet July 13 to review revenue projections from the Pork Checkoff and to set a spending target for the new budget year. The board is meeting during the three-day National Pork Industry Conference at Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

The board, under the leadership of newly elected president Gene Nemechek, will welcome four new pork producer members recently appointed to three-years terms by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: Julie Maschoff from Carlyle, Ill.; Derrick Sleezer from Cherokee, Iowa; Wathina Luthi from Gage, Okla.; and Steve Wuergler from Drain, Ore. The board also will pay tribute to four retiring board members: Tim Bierman, a Larrabee, Iowa, producer who as the immediate past president remains on the board for one year as a non-voting member; Steve Weaver of Elk Grove, Calif.; Bruce Samson of Three Forks, Mont.; and Henry Moore of Clinton, N.C.

The U.S. pork industry financial picture is much improved from one year ago when sharply lower hog prices prompted board members to set a 2010 spending target of $46.2 million, approximately 20 percent lower than the 2009 budget. Pork Checkoff revenues are tied directly to the market price producers receive.

“Pork producers responded to those lower prices by reducing the size of the national herd,” said Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, Ark. “As a result, prices have rebounded and that should allow us to develop a budget more in line with our traditional planning and spending.”

At the same time, Nemechek said, there are several major new initiatives in planning stages to address goals in the board’s new five-year strategic plan, adopted earlier this year. “During 2011, we intend to launch a major effort to reposition pork in the consumer marketplace. And there are some exciting discussions under way with other major players in U.S. production agriculture about a national campaign to improve the public’s understanding of 21st century agriculture.

“Both of those could require a significant investment of Pork Checkoff resources,” Nemechek said, while at the same time we’ll be asked to support the research, education and other programs that producers value. “Board members have some difficult decisions in front of them before we finish work on this budget in November.”

Also on the board’s agenda:

  • A report from the task force studying the board’s producer committee structure. The task force is one of three groups studying specific recommendations in the new strategic plan.
  • An update on the board’s international marketing work.
  • An update on a revised policy handbook for board members.
  • Discussion of a proposal to provide non-voting board representation to regions of the country without members on the board.

Meetings of the National Pork Board are open to the public. Those wishing to attend are asked to contact Lorraine Garner,, (515) 223-2600.

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) 456-7675 or check the Internet at

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