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Pork Checkoff Works with Producers to Strengthen Industry

by 5m Editor
9 June 2008, at 10:33am

US - Accountability, trust and social responsibility serve as the foundation for what the Pork Checkoff is doing on behalf of pork producers.

"We know that many producers are struggling right now with a profitability challenge," said Steve Murphy, chief executive officer for the National Pork Board. "The Pork Checkoff is helping producers work together to build a stronger industry. Producers are using the Checkoff in many ways to build demand, move more product and raise a better product."


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"From grilled breakfast sandwiches at 1,000 Panera Bread Bakery locations to a new Butcher's Block line of fresh and frozen pork at 77 Sysco distribution centers, putting more pork on the menus continues to be a focus."
Steve Murphy, chief executive officer for the National Pork Board

The Checkoff is capturing the world market by focusing on export success and future opportunities. U.S. Pork exports, which are supported by the Pork Checkoff, marked the 16th consecutive record year in 2007. U.S. Pork exports in the first quarter of 2008 were valued at more than $1 billion.

"One in every four pounds of pork traded today originates from the U.S.," said Murphy.

The Checkoff also is focusing on domestic marketing by promoting pork at home. The Pork Checkoff launched The Other White Meat® Tour to celebrate pork's positive benefits with target consumers through cooking demonstrations, product sampling and one-on-one interactions. The tour will be stopping at 23 high-trafficked consumer events across the U.S. that reach a large percentage of the Checkoff's target audience, females 25-49 years old who have children at home and want to be better cooks.

"A total of 250 million pounds of pork have been sold as a result of Checkoff retail programs during the first and second quarter," said Murphy. "Of that, 52 million pounds are incremental increases compared to the same time period last year."

Murphy continued, "From grilled breakfast sandwiches at 1,000 Panera Bread Bakery locations to a new Butcher's Block line of fresh and frozen pork at 77 Sysco distribution centers, putting more pork on the menus continues to be a focus."

The Checkoff is working to meet producers' expectations by focusing on input resources. During this profitability challenge, the Checkoff has compiled several resources to assist producers. The Checkoff created Practical Ideas to Address High Feeds and Production Costs, a list of management tips and resources to assist producers in identifying opportunities to increase efficiencies and reduce cost.

"The CME Group, Pork Checkoff and state pork associations have come together to develop risk-management Webinars,'" said Murphy. "These online, interactive presentations give producers direct access to industry professionals.

As planning for 2009 begins, the Checkoff will work with producers to build a budget based on producers working together to build a stronger industry.

"An early step in the process is to identify the critical issues for 2009," said Lynn Harrison, National Pork Board president. "With producer direction and input from Pork Forum, board meetings and committee meetings, the board approved the 2009 critical issues."

The 2009 critical issues are:

  • competitive advantage for U.S. Pork
  • The safeguard and expansion of international markets
  • Domestic pork expenditures
  • The trust and image of the industry and its products
  • Human capital - the development of producer leadership and technical advisors and the growth of a quality workforce

"We will continue to work with producers and staff through the next few months in the budget process with the approval expected in November," said Harrison. "We are also in the process of a CEO search.

"Earlier this year we contracted with a professional search firm and worked with producers to determine what is needed in a new CEO," continued Harrison. "We are moving through the process and expect to make an announcement later this year. This is an important decision and we want to make sure that we are doing the right thing for our producers as we hire this position."

5m Editor