Overwhelmingly, pork producers have rejected a referendum on the Pork Checkoff.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Feb. 18 that results show by a wide margin too few pork producers and importers want a referendum on the Pork Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Order.

Only 94 valid requests for a referendum were cast – far short of the 10,417 required to trigger a referendum. Of the total requests, 39 were cast in Iowa, 11 in Minnesota, eight in Kansas and six in Wisconsin.

The request for referendum was held from Dec. 8, 2008 through Jan. 2, 2009 at USDA’s county Farm Service Agency offices.

The request for referendum was conducted as a result of a settlement of a lawsuit on Feb. 28, 2001 with USDA and the Michigan Pork Producers Association, Inc., et al.

The settlement agreement called for USDA to conduct a request for referendum among eligible pork producers and importers to determine if they favored holding a referendum on the Pork Checkoff program.

National Pork Board President Steve Weaver of Elk Grove, CA, says the results reflect producer satisfaction.

“The results of the USDA Pork Checkoff Referendum Survey are very consistent with the strong and increasing support for Pork Checkoff programs. A recent scientific random survey of producers across the country showed 77% of all pork producers supported the Pork Checkof programs.

“The Pork Checkoff has been focused on those issues that affect producers’ bottom line. From our profitability challenge work, our efforts on addressing high feed costs, or our work defending our industry against activist attacks, we have been pleased that producers are recognizing the work we have done on their behalf. We think the survey results are a testament to these efforts,” he says.

Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold.

The Pork Checkoff funds national and state advertising programs, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management.