Consumers Are Key Focus of Proposed 2011 National Pork Board Budget

Consumer perspectives of pork and pork production are the central focus of the National Pork Board’s proposed 2011 budget that will be debated next week in Des Moines. More than 50 pork producers will gather from across the country to help guide the investment of Pork Checkoff dollars into consumer information, research, and producer education programs. The programs are designed to help pork producers provide consumers with safe, affordable, quality pork products.

The board’s planning and budgeting process began earlier this summer when producer-led committees identified action steps for achieving the board’s new five-year strategic plan. These objectives fall under one of three major goals:

• Refresh and reposition pork’s image to increase domestic and international consumer demand.

• Protect the rights and ability of U.S. farmers to produce pork in a socially-responsible and cost-competitive manner.

• Pursue strategies to enable U.S. pork producers to remain highly competitive, long term, on a global basis.

Next week’s Plan of Work Budget Meeting includes producers from more than 25 states who represent the diversity of today’s pork industry. Producers attending the meeting will review more than $54 million in program requests to create a balanced FY 2011 budget of approximately $46 million.

Among the requests are major proposals to create new excitement for pork in the consumer marketplace and to help consumers better understand and appreciate modern agriculture. Additional proposals advance the work of the pork industry’s We Care initiative and fund research that can address significant social, economic, and production concerns facing the pork industry.

When the National Pork Board meets, beginning at noon Thursday, it will focus on improving its delivery of services to pork producers. Two task forces that were established under the strategic plan will present recommendations to the Board on enhancing producer input into the Board’s programming decisions and strengthening state pork producer organizations.

In addition to these two reports, the Board will also:

• Preview recommendations for a new policy handbook that will strengthen the governance of the Board;

• Evaluate the need for a study tour examining how regulatory changes in the European Union might impact future U.S. production;

• Review progress on: 1. a national Swine Influenza Virus Surveillance program; 2. new consumer market research; and 3. a plan to create a model to help producers manage air emissions.

Meetings of the National Pork Board are open to the public. Those wishing to attend are asked to contact Lorraine Garner, lgarner@pork.org, (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 www.pork.org.

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