Marla Conley, a pork producer from Cherokee, IA served as a delegate at the Pork Act Delegate assembly March 1-3 in Denver, Colo. Conley was named a delegate by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Conley was one of the delegates who represented producers from across the country 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 the We Care initiative, promoting pork to consumers and research into animal welfare, food safety, swine health, environment and other topics.
"From managing issues to promoting our product at home and internationally, Pork Checkoff programs are continually working toward the end results of yielding positive results for pork producers," said Conley.
The National Pork Board approved a 2012 budget for national spending of $69.3 million for programs of promotion, research and education to protect the ability of farmers to produce pork, to reposition pork's image and to enable producers to remain highly competitive on a global basis.
Included in that amount was about $37.7 million focused on increasing domestic consumer pork expenditures.
"The Pork Be inspired brand campaign is showing many signs of early success," said Conley. "Despite record retail prices, consumers are buying more pork."
The Checkoff also is at work in ongoing programs that include efforts to provide science-based answers and educational opportunities including:
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 and consumers.
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.
The Pork Checkoff is continuing research into the four pillars of environmental sustainability focusing on the water footprint in 2012.
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 pork.org.