The National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) are poised to create a decisive separation of the two organizations.



The pork industry's infrastructure is being overhauled in accordance with the directives laid out in the USDA-pork producer settlement agreement, which allowed the mandatory pork checkoff to continue.

In his comments at National Pork Industry Forum in March, Barry Carpenter, deputy administrator with USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service, told delegates: “(The) policy and programs were so blurred that pork producers could not distinguish one from the other.”

Therefore, all future communications from the two groups must be completely separate, including the holding of distinct annual meetings of delegates.

Checkoff funds, which will be administered by the National Pork Board, can be used only for promotion, education, research and consumer information programs. NPPC will focus on non-checkoff-funded activities, such as public policy and regulatory issues.

Pork Board Actions

The accounting/business management consulting firm, RSM McGladrey Inc., Des Moines, was hired on April 3 to serve as transition project managers. “They are basically in charge of identifying and addressing all of the issues surrounding the transition. They will report to us twice a month,” explains Mike Simpson, National Pork Board executive vice president.

The consulting firm has structured a review process to establish a working transition plan that will identify what must be accomplished, who's going to do it and when the task will be completed.

“Examples include everything from budgeting to employee benefits to changing the sign on the building,” says Simpson.

July 1 is the target date for accomplishing two-thirds of the transition, says Simpson.

A transition team, chaired by National Pork Board President John Kellogg, Yorkville, IL, includes: Tom Floy, Thornton, IA; Richard Alig, Okarche, OK; Mike Bayes, Orient, OH; Brad Thornton, Eagle, ID; and Craig Christianson, Bouton, IA.

Additionally, a CEO search committee is chaired by Hugh Dorminy, Russellville, AR, (vice president) and includes Chet McManus, Fulton, SD; Greg Boerboom, Marshall, MN; and ex officio member, Mark Gebhards, Illinois Pork Producers Association.

An employee search firm will be selected by mid-May to assist in the CEO search.

In addition to establishing checkoff program and budget plans, the National Pork Board budget committee is charged with gathering input from pork producers. By late April, “listening post” sessions had been held in Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. Others were planned. Simpson also noted producers can file their thoughts and concerns through the board's Web site, www.porkboard.org, or by sending an e-mail to porkboard@porkboard.org.

Telephone focus groups and a postcard questionnaire in the May edition of Pork Report are planned to garner producer feedback. A questionnaire also appears in the card deck located in the center of this issue.

“The objectives are to listen to producers and garner their input and to gain valuable insight in program priorities to apply to our budgeting priorities,” Simpson explains.

NPPC Plans

A six-member transition team has been appointed from the ranks of the NPPC board of directors to marshal the changes prescribed in the settlement agreement. NPPC President Barb Determan will serve as chairperson of the committee including: David Roper, Kimberly, ID (president-elect); John Caspers, Swaledale, IA (vice president); Don Herzog, Rapelje, MT; Whitley Stephenson, Smithfield, NC; and Roy Henry, Longford, KS.

“The transition team has been working very diligently to make sure the checkoff programs are handed over properly, while at the same time making sure that the programs are continuing without any glitches,” Determan notes.

In addition, the NPPC board recently invited 39 producers, allied industry representatives and state pork producer groups from 20 states to serve on a task force charged with redefining the structure and services of the organization. This task force was established under the direction of Resolution SO-10, passed by NPPC delegates during National Pork Industry Forum. The task force includes: Al Deutsch, Assumption, IL; Scott Burroughs, Dorchester, NE; Michael Cline, Kirklin, IN; Jon Caspers, Swaledale, IA; Barbara Determan, Early, IA; Gary Machan, Dakota Dunes, SD; Randall Spronk, Edgerton, MN; Michael Terrill, Snowflake, AZ; James Leafstedt, Alcester, SD; Gregory Starleaf, Indianapolis, IN; Roy Henry, Longford, KS; Kathy Chinn, Clarence, MO; Charles Miller, Alexander, NY; Douglas Wolf, Lancaster, WI; Thomas Vincent, Perry, IA; Paul Fitzsimmons, Good Thunder, MN; Christopher Moery, Hennessey, OK; Eric Bleak, Milford, UT; Bryan Black, Canal Winchester, OH; Jeff Galle, Perry, IL; Donna Reifschneider, Smithton, IL; Glen Keppy, Davenport, IA; Charles Real, Marion, TX; Sue Huls, Bozeman, MT; Darrell Anderson, West Lafayette, IN; Richard Degner, Clive, IA; Brian Watkins, Kenton, OH; Peter Blauwiekel, Fowler, MI; Dennis Liptrap, Nicholasville, KY; David Roper, Kimberly, ID; Gene Gourley, Webster City, IA; Joel Van Gilst, Oskaloosa, IA; Mark Gebhards, Springfield, IL; John Meyer, Kansas City, MO; John Prestage, Clinton, NC; Jerry Godwin, Warsaw, NC; Mike Townsley, Kansas City, MO; Bill Fielding, Kansas City, MO; and J. Randolph Carpenter, Raleigh, NC.

The task force will study many issues, such as governance, funding and producer needs. It will make recommendations to the NPPC board of directors, who will make the final decisions.

NPPC Funding Sources

Naturally, funding for NPPC is a major concern, particularly with the cancellation of their primary non-checkoff revenue generator — World Pork Expo.

“We are looking at a lot of different options now. Allied industry has responded very favorably. Several key exhibitors have decided to donate the dollars they would normally spend for booth rental to NPPC,” Determan notes.

Another key funding consideration is establishing a fair rental agreement with the National Pork Board for the NPPC-owned office space. “A professional appraisal of the building is being done, which not only gives the value of the building but also provides the commercial property rental rates in the area,” she explains.