Despite a relatively gloomy view of the industry late last year, pork producers remained positive about the work being done through their Pork Checkoff, according to a random survey of the National Pork Board’s database. The survey was conducted of 550 producers last December.

A number of the questions in the survey have been asked each of the last eight years. When producers were asked if they believe the industry is moving in the right direction, 40% said right direction and 50% said wrong direction. That wrong-direction number is the highest since the 63% of 2003. The highest right-direction number was 64% in 2006. Producers are always asked their position on the Pork Checkoff and it programs. In 2009, support was 77% and opposition was 13%; the 77% support ties the all-time high from 2008.

Other key findings of questions designed to get producer views of contemporary issues and programs to help the board’s budgeting process include:

  • Forty-three percent believe consumers have a positive image of the pork industry vs 36% say negative and 19% said neither.
  • Eighty percent said the Pork Checkoff achieves its goals of promotion, research and consumer education.
  • The We Care initiative was recognized by 57% and supported by 86% of producers.
  • Sixty-seven percent of producers said they believed the National Pork Board responded adequately to the H1N1 market crisis, while 29% said no.
  • When given a list of producer concerns, producers ranked them as follows: The ability of industry opponents to influence production practices; the public’s understanding of pork production and food safety; environmental regulations on air and water quality; a decrease in exports; and possible limits on antibiotic use.
  • Sixty-two percent said they either have, or plan to have, their production sites assessed through the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program. Another 17% said they need more information and 13% said only if mandated.

Among those surveyed were 200 producers who marketed 101-5,000 hogs in 2008; 199 producers who marketed 5,001-20,000 hogs and 151 who marketed more than 20,000 hogs.

For more information, visit www.pork.org or call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675.