DES MOINES, Iowa — The National Pork Board has named a new
taskforce that will examine consumer needs, animal care, sustainable pork
production and other current challenges facing the industry to define a future
vision of the Pork Checkoff and, on a larger scale, the entire pork industry.
The yearlong planning process will review research, market
data and opinions of industry leaders to set a strategic vision that will carry
the organization from 2015 through 2020. The primary goal is to assess the Pork
Checkoff’s role in an ever-changing world and set the priorities that can help
pork producers better meet customer needs.
The current five-year strategic plan was unveiled in 2009
and will be complete next year. Through that process, the Pork Checkoff defined
three critical issues, including: protecting a producer’s freedom to operate,
enhancing U.S. and international consumer demand for pork and making U.S. pork
producers more competitive in the global marketplace.
To Pork Checkoff Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak, it
comes down to asking the industry’s key players a simple question — what if? —
and then charting a course that can help pork farmers achieve the opportunities
that single question may identify.
“In the hands of pork producers who have a vision for how we
can better serve consumers, ‘what if?’ is an incredibly powerful tool to explore
what we can attain as an industry,” he said. “The last time we asked that
question, we articulated an industry vision to become more responsible,
sustainable, professional and profitable. We’ve made great progress these past
four years, but we know we can achieve more through a focused planning effort
that unites producers, processors and customers.
“Today, the agricultural industry faces many challenges that
will define our next five years — and that is especially true for the pork
industry. So it is very fitting that we begin our journey now to chart our
vision through 2020 — collecting new thoughts, while improving upon what we have
accomplished in the last five years,” Novak said.
For the first time, the planning process will bring together
pork producers, animal health experts, packers, processors and food distributors
and foodservice and retail experts. By involving key leaders from both pork
production and its allied industries, the National Pork Board expects diverse
opinions to inform its deliberations.
“Only through sharing information with each other and truly
looking at our industry through the eyes of its key partners can we fully assess
the challenges and opportunities that are ahead,” Novak said. “For me, strategic
planning comes down to analyzing three fundamental questions — Where are we
today? Where do we want to be? How do we get there together?
“For example, we need to further our commitment to
transparency and make all consumers aware of the ethical principles that guide
our actions and business. We are committed to responsible and ethical animal
agriculture that extends from animal care to environmental stewardship to food
and worker safety programs, But what if — and how can — we improve? Together we
will take that input and turn it into a plan of action.”
The process will use a variety of tools to engage
stakeholders in the planning process, including providing an opportunity for
each of the more than 60,000 U.S. pork producers to participate by answering
surveys and submitting opinions. The taskforce will collect valuable information
from farmers, customers and supply chain partners.
To facilitate a dialogue on the future of the pork industry,
pork producers can e-mail comments to WhatIffirstname.lastname@example.org on how the Pork
Checkoff can best strengthen tomorrow’s industry.
The participants in the National Pork Board’s strategic
planning taskforce include:
* Board president Karen Richter and board vice president Dale Norton;
* Board members Jan Archer and Glen Walters;
* Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director, Oklahoma Pork Council;
* Randy Spronk, president, National Pork Producers Council;
* Jay Akridge, dean of agriculture, Purdue University;
* Pork producers Robert Dykhuis, James Heimerl and Dr. Craig Rowles;
* Rich Gallant, vice president, Cargill Meat Solutions;
* Joe Jordon, vice president, Domino’s Pizza;
* Joe Swedberg, vice president, Hormel Foods;
* Leann Saunders, president, Where Food Comes From Inc.;
* Rick Parker, director, JBS USA; and
* Michael Skahill, vice president, Smithfield Foods.
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 40 cents for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products
contribute a like amount, based on a formula.
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.