National Pork Board to Focus on Committee Structure

US - The National Pork Board will be asked next week to streamline the organization's producer-led committee structure. The board meets Tuesday through Thursday in Des Moines.
calendar icon 15 November 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The National Pork Board now has 11 pork producer-led committees that it relies on for guidance on issues ranging from product marketing to the environment to animal health and food safety. On Wednesday, the board will receive a report from a task force it appointed last spring to study the committee structure. The task force is recommending that the board trim the number of committees to eight by combining two committees that focus on producer services, education and communications and two others that focus on nutrition and pork safety. It also is recommending that a committee focused on niche marketing become a subcommittee of the merged producer group and that the board assure that producers who specialize in providing products for niche markets be included on all board committees.

"Creating a task force to study our committee process was one of the recommendations in our new five-year strategic plan," said Gene Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, Arkansas, and president of the National Pork Board. "The task force recognized the importance of the work that producer-led committees do. They provide valuable expertise in areas the board, as a whole, might not possess. But the task force also found that there was some overlap between committees, prompting its recommendations on reorganization. The task force offered a number of other suggestions to improve the committee process, one of which calls for more direct involvement in the committee process by board members.

"The goal," Dr Nemechek said, "is to assure we have a committee structure that is more efficient and more focused on achieving the goals outlined in the five-year strategic plan the board approved last spring."

If the board accepts the task force report, the committees advising the board will focus on: domestic marketing; producer education and services; environment; animal well-being; animal science; swine health; trade; and pork safety and nutrition.

Two other task forces appointed at the same time by the board have not concluded their work. Board members will meet on Tuesday afternoon with the task force studying how the National Pork Board might better serve the needs of state pork organizations. It also will receive a progress report from the task force focusing on National Pork Board research objectives."

Also on the board's agenda this week is approval of the 2011 program budget presented to the board in September by the Plan of Work Task Force, a group of 50 diverse producers who make specific budget recommendations to the board based on the board's goals outlined in the strategic plan. The new budget calls for spending approximately $46 million of Pork Checkoff revenue to create, among other things, 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.

Once the board approves the 2011 budget, it will be submitted to the US secretary of agriculture for final approval.

The board also will:

  • Hear a report on plans for recognizing the 25th anniversary of the Pork Checkoff created by Congress in the 1985 Farm Bill.
  • Discuss a new vulnerabilities assessment that will help guide the board in its issues management process during 2011 and beyond.
  • Receive a progress report on work being done to reposition pork in the marketplace. A launch of the new effort is expected in spring 2011.
  • Receive training in the use of techniques in the so-called "social media."
  • Play host to its annual staff appreciation luncheon.
  • Begin planning for the 2011 Pork Industry Forum in March.
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