Pork Act Delegates Elect Board Members,
Vote on Pork Checkoff Resolutions
Pork Act delegates from across the United States attended National Pork Industry Forum, March 6-8, in St. Louis, MO. Delegates held elections and discussed industry-related advisements and resolutions during their annual business meeting.
“This is a great opportunity for producers across the nation to come together and work together on issues that are going to affect the pork industry,” stated Pork Board President Lynn Harrison, a pork producer from Elk Mound, WI.

The theme for this year’s forum – “Owning our future, the choices we face,” – was reinforced by delegate action to adopt a set of “ethical principles for U.S. pork producers” as a statement of producer beliefs and their obligation to demonstrate those beliefs in a manner that will earn the trust of consumers and regulators of the pork industry, Harrison explained.

Pork Act delegates have three specific duties under the Pork Act, which includes recommending the rate of the pork checkoff, setting the percentage of checkoff funds that is returned to states, and nominating producers and/or importers for appointment to the National Pork Board and to the Checkoff Nominating Committee. Recommendations for appointments to the National Pork Board are sent to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, who makes the final determination.

In voting on National Pork Board members, eight pork producers were ranked for consideration by the Secretary of Agriculture. From those eight, the secretary will appoint five producers to serve three-year terms. The appointments are typically announced in the summer. The nominees, as ranked by the delegates, include:

• Roy Henry, Kansas
• Conley Nelson, Iowa
• Alan Wilhoite, Indiana
• Brian Zimmerman, Nebraska
• Karen Richter, Minnesota
• Dale Norton, Michigan
• Jamey Tosh, Tennessee
• Curtis Meier, Iowa

Pork Act Delegates also elected Wayne Peugh, Edelstein, IL, and William Kessler, Mexico, MO to two-year terms on the Pork Board Nominating Committee.

During the annual meeting, Harrison reminded delegates: “The Pork Act assigns the National Pork Board full responsibility for managing all checkoff-related matters except those assigned to Pork Act delegates. However, the Pork Board has invited Pork Act delegates to provide input and advice to the board on any checkoff-related matter. All motions related to Pork Board-managed programs are called ‘Pork Act delegate advisements,’ since they are advisory only and not binding to the board.”

In voting, Pork Act delegates adopted the following “advisements,” asking the National Pork Board to:
  • Adopt the document “Ethical Principles for U.S. Pork Producers.”
  • Move rapidly to address misinformation on the pork industry in the media.
  • Seek out additional funding opportunities for educational activities.
  • Endorse the long-range goal for agricultural education to create new programs in communities not yet served by agricultural education and FFA.
  • Support all Pork Quality Assurance Plus™ (PQA Plus™) swine production practices and vigorously advocate those swine production practices in a cooperative manner with industry partners.
  • Support the use of sound science to serve as the basis for developing standards for animal husbandry; and asks all producers to complete the PQA Plus program over the next three years.
  • Support scientific studies that include on-farm research and focus on wells and potential contamination issues.
  • Implement programming to work toward increasing domestic pork expenditures over the next three years.
  • Request that the USDA develop a process whereby the Secretary of Agriculture can approve Pork Act Alternates at the same time the secretary appoints the Pork Act delegates.

In addition, Pork Act delegates debated a Minnesota Pork Board resolution to increase the national rate of the Pork Checkoff from 40 cents/$100 value of pork sold, to 42.5 cents/$100 value of pork sold.

“We wanted to make sure all delegates had a chance to voice their opinions prior acting upon this resolution,” explained Harrison.

After considerable debate, it was moved to refer the checkoff-rate resolution to the National Pork Board for further consideration by a working group representing the interests of state pork associations. The working group will ensure that the checkoff-rate question be brought before each state for review before the issue is brought before the 2009 Pork Act Delegate body.

Pork Act Delegates are pork producers or importers nominated by their state pork producer associations or individually, then appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Each state may be represented by at least two Pork Act delegates. The number of delegates and the voting shares of each delegate are determined by the amount of checkoff monies collected from each state.

In 2008, the Secretary of Agriculture appointed 155 pork producers and eight importers to the Pork Act delegate body. States are not required to submit nominees. Three states did not. Four other states submitted only one nominee. Importer representation is based on assessments on imported pork and pork products.

Environmental Stewards Recognized at Pork Forum
The latest class of Environmental Steward award winners was recognized at the National Pork Industry Forum in St. Louis, MO on March 8. The program is co-sponsored by National Hog Farmer magazine and Pork Checkoff. The winners exemplify excellence in environmental care and conservation in pork production.

“The geographic and pork production management diversity represented by our winners is impressive,” said Dale Miller, editor of National Hog Farmer. “They represent pork producers’ remarkable efforts to incorporate the latest science and technology to capture the fertilizer value of swine manure – a significant contribution to the natural, sustainable production of food and fiber in our energy-conscious world. Additionally, they are excellent examples of pork producers’ constant focus on guarding our valuable air, water and land resources, while securing pork’s future in American agriculture.”
Honored during a special ceremony at Pork Forum were:

  • Keppy Farms, Durant, IA (Loren and Jeantee Keppy);
  • M & J Farms, Hadley, MN (Mike Haupert);
  • Meadowlane Farms, Frankfort, IN (Mike Beard); and
  • Wakefield Farms, Turpin, OK (represented by Don Owens).

Environmental steward award winners receive a plaque in recognition for their strong environmental ethic. Their stories were featured in the Sept. 15, 2007 edition of National Hog Farmer magazine, and in a special report in the Pork Checkoff Report. A special video – “Stewards of the Land” – is also produced and distributed by the National Pork Board. To view the video, go to www.nationalhogfarmer.com or www.pork.org. Copies of the video are also available by calling (800) 456-PORK or see www.pork.org to order.

The National Pork Board is receiving applications and nominations for 2008 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winners. The deadline is March 31, 2008. The next class of environmental stewards will be honored at the National Pork Industry Forum in 2009. More information, as well as applications, can be found online at www.pork.org or www.nationalhogfarmer.com or by calling (800) 456-PORK.