The National Pork Board begins work this week on its 2013 plan and budget. The board will meet Tuesday during the annual Pork Industry Conference at the Wisconsin Dells.

The board begins its planning process each year by assessing market conditions, projecting available Pork Checkoff revenue, and then establishing a fiscal-year spending target.

Paragon Economics President Steve Meyer, who consults for the board, will provide board members with his projections for 2013, which he said appears to be one of unusual uncertainty. Meyer said this summer's drought in the Corn Belt means feed costs will put great pressure on profitability in 2013.

Meyer is currently projecting that 2013 revenues from the Pork Checkoff will be approximately $79 million. That compares with an $82.9 million revenue projection for 2012. Producers contribute 0.4% of the sales price of each hog sold to the Pork Checkoff. Pork importers contribute a similar amount based on U.S. sales. In 2012, approximately 110 million U.S. hogs will go to market. The board distributes roughly 20% of the Pork Checkoff revenue to state pork organizations for their use to promote pork and conduct research. The remainder is devoted to national programs in promotion, research and consumer information.

“With the current projections for hog prices, combined with a corn crop whose yields are being threatened by hot, dry weather, 2013 is shaping up to be a difficult one for farmers,” says Board President Conley Nelson, a farmer and pork executive from Algona, IA. “Board members will be very cognizant of those facts as we set a spending target for 2013 that addresses our need to promote pork domestically and internationally and our commitment to managing programs that protect our farmers' ability to operate freely and that keep us competitive.”

Once the board establishes a spending target, producer-led committees and National Pork Board staff begin the process of building specific program and budget requests. In September, the staff will present a proposed balanced budget to a task force of 75 producers from across the country. Members of the task force review that budget and forward their recommendations to the board for final consideration in November.

For 2013, the board expects to hear requests to continue funding its successful Pork Be Inspired  branding initiative, which includes national television, Internet and magazine advertising.  The board also expects producers to request continued research into sow health issues, feed efficiency and environmental sustainability.

In other action, the board is expected to review its participation in the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. The alliance, made up of more than 70 commodity associations and businesses involved in production agriculture, is working to improve consumer trust in today's agriculture and to increase the voice of farmers in public discussions, answering Americans' questions about how their food is raised.  The board was one of the inaugural founders of the alliance and is represented on the alliance board and executive committee by Dale Norton, a pork producer and National Pork Board member from Bronson, MI.

The board also will hear the results of a recently completed market survey tracking the success of its marketing efforts.

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. 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.