The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) returned to its organizational funding roots by introducing a new voluntary contribution program at the World Pork Expo.

The Producer Consent Program provides pork producers with an opportunity to contribute funds through participating packers. This voluntary effort was set in motion last March at the organization's annual meeting when delegates passed a resolution calling for development of the voluntary program.

A 15-member Producer Consent Program task force was appointed to develop an enrollment form and plans for contacting producers and markets. “The form authorizes participating markets to deduct 10¢/$100 value and to send those funds on to NPPC where they will be split 50-50 with the states,” explains task force chairman Jon Caspers.

The NPPC board of directors approved a producer consent form just before World Pork Expo. About 100 producers signed up during the event. The official kick-off date for voluntary contribution program is set for Sept. 1, although some states will likely initiate the program before that, Caspers says.

“So far, all of the major packers have been contacted,” he continues. “And the response has been supportive. NPPC is working with the state organizations to contact additional packers and markets.”

“Producer consent funds will be used to proactively defend pork producers in legislative, regulatory and legal defense issues,” explains Pat McGonegle, vice president of state relations and resource development at NPPC. “These are all areas that cannot be addressed using mandatory checkoff dollars collected by the National Pork Board,” he explains.

Caspers says the NPPC is hopeful that the 10¢/$100 value will be collected on half of the hogs and pigs sold annually in the U.S. For ease of calculation, he notes that 50 million hogs worth $100 each would generate $5 million.

“We have more and more challenges in the pork industry by activists all of the time,” adds Caspers. “Their level of activism is infinitely greater than it was just five years ago. That's why this voluntary contribution is so critical.”

Producers interested in making contributions through the Producer Consent Program must first complete the consent form. Their name will then be shared with the packer(s)/market(s) they have authorized to deduct the contribution. Additional information about the program is available through state pork producer organizations or by calling NPPC at (515) 278-8012.