Value-added ventures initiated by pork producers are prominent in each of the major hog-producing states. The projects range from basic marketing pools to construction plans for multi-million dollar packing plants.

Whether the plans call for bricks and mortar for processing facilities, joint venture agreements with existing processors or privately labeled meats, each producer group seeks more value from their hogs.

Each of the ventures allows producers to ratchet their product several links upward on the pork chain. Producers believe these ventures will result in higher profits because they own the packing plant, have stock in the cooperative or sell hogs through a joint marketing agreement.

The following series of articles highlights producer projects at the local, state and regional levels. The organizers of Pork America, a national cooperative, hope to provide an umbrella organization for the producer alliances. Pork America's membership drive is extended to June 30.

Also included are cautious words from economists and market researchers on the success of value-added projects.