Pork Act delegates voted to keep the pork checkoff rate at the current level of 40 cents/$100 of value at the delegate session at National Pork Industry Forum in Dallas, TX.

The resolution included an amendment to form a task force to study the creation of a single industry organization.

That task force will be a joint project of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board. The task force will offer its final recommendations to the 2004 Pork Forum for consideration.

Based on $11 billion in farm sales projected for 2003, pork checkoff collections are estimated at $44 million. Of that, about $35 million is targeted for national programs and $9 million for state programs.

The 2003 budget, with some funds held in reserve, calls for projected spending of $42.7 million, 11% lower than in 2002.

Through a legislative national checkoff, the National Pork Board has responsibility for checkoff-funded advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health and pork safety programs.

Other Actions

Resolutions were passed at Pork Forum regarding communications and science programs. The first calls for alliances with other groups to enhance consumer awareness about modern agricultural practices and to promote a positive image of agriculture.

Animal well-being was made a research priority for 2003-2004 in a second resolution.

In a third, the National Pork Board supported sound science as a basis for decisions on antibiotic use in food animal production.

Delegates also nominated nine pork producers to fill six positions on the 15-member Pork Board. Five positions are for three-year terms and the sixth is to fill the remaining two years of a three-year term. Candidates are: Craig Christensen, Iowa; Mark Reding, Kentucky; David Culbertson, Illinois; Dianne Bettin, Minnesota; Dennis Michael, South Dakota; Wayne Peugh, Illinois; Alden Zuhlke, Nebraska; John Foushee, North Carolina and Brent Sandidge, Missouri. Members will be appointed by the secretary of agriculture.

For more information on the checkoff, call the Producer Service Center at 800-456-7675 or check the Internet at www.porkboard.org.