The National Pork Board's budget of $53.7 million for 2005 includes the first major change in the pork industry's consumer marketing program since the “Pork. The Other White Meat” campaign was launched in 1986.

The new budget also includes $12 million that goes to state pork producer organizations for local pork checkoff programs.

The budget request now goes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for final approval.

Pork producers have enjoyed profitable hog prices throughout much of 2004, thanks to strong consumer demand domestically and internationally, and higher pork prices at wholesale and retail, even in the face of record pork production.

“This has been a remarkable year for pork demand,” says Dave Culbertson, Geneseo, IL, pork producer and president of the Pork Board. “With production running at near-record levels, we wouldn't have guessed that pork prices would remain so strong. We're pleased that consumers are finding reasons to put more pork on their plates.”

The robust market has also generated $10 million more than budget expectations from the pork checkoff, which is tied to a percentage of hog sales. The funds will help support industry programs in promotion, research and consumer education.

“As a result, we're seeing new ideas, including the launch in March 2005 of a bold new marketing initiative to build on the phenomenal success of our ‘Other White Meat’ campaign,” adds Danita Rodibaugh, Rensselaer, IN, pork producer and chairman of the board's Budget Committee.

The 2005 budget also supports both new and existing environmental, animal health and welfare programs, and educational materials to pork producers.

Key issues identified by the board for 2005 include:

  • Increasing pork demand;

  • Improving the consumer's pork eating experience;

  • Developing new industry leaders;

  • Implementing an issues-management process;

  • Establishing industry standards in environmental and animal health areas; and

  • Improving the pork industry's image in local communities.

The budget also provides support to the national effort to map the swine genome.