Pork Act delegates at the National Pork Industry Forum last week in Kansas City were introduced to a new vision: “Leading a world-class food industry – Responsible. Sustainable. Professional. Profitable.”

That vision statement comes from a strategic five-year plan developed by the National Pork Board.

“This new plan for the future of our pork industry was built by pork producers, for pork producers,” explains Tim Bierman, a Larabee, IA, pork producer and president of the Pork Board. “Work on this plan began last year during some of the darkest days for U.S. pork producers since 1998, but the producer task force remained committed to building a plan that could help ensure a successful future.”

Part of that plan calls for:

--Being socially responsible in the production of food that feeds the world;

--Adopting production practices consistent with the pork industry’s ethical principles that are sustainable long term;

--Demonstrating the industry’s We Care philosophy that demands professionalism and competency at every level of the industry, from top meat company executives to hog barn workers across the country; and

--Providing top-quality food products to consumers at a reasonable price that enables all industry participants to be profitable on a consistent basis.

“These points describe core industry values that all members of our industry should strive to implement on a daily basis,” says Bierman.

Pork Act delegates also heard about new efforts to reposition pork with today’s consumers.

“Since 1987, The Other White Meat campaign has been effective in changing consumers’ perception of pork as a leaner choice,” says Bierman. “During 2010, the Pork Board will be testing potential new brand positions for pork that may be more effective in reaching today’s consumers.”

Schafer, Condon Carter, an agency with meat and commodity experience, has been hired to assist the National Pork Board in evaluating their brand position.

Pork Act delegates also selected eight candidates to be forwarded for approval to the secretary of agriculture. In July, five Pork Board members will be appointed to serve three-year terms as delegates. The delegates ranked the candidates as follows:

--Julie Maschhoff, Carlyle, IL;
--Everett Forkner, Richards, MO;
--Henry Moore, Clinton, NC;
--Derrick Sleezer, Cherokee, IA;
--Craig Mensink, Preston, MN;
--Wathina Luthi, Gage, OK;
--Gregg Hora, Fort Dodge, IA; and
--Steve Wuergler, Drain, OR.

Middleton, MO, pork producer Jim Fisher and Waseca, MN, producer Karen Balfe were elected to the Pork Board nominating committee.

For more on Pork Forum activities, visit www.pork.org.