Training classes and support materials are available for pork producers and other industry-related professionals.

Successful pork producers need timely access to the latest technologies to stay competitive.

To many in the industry, the need for apples-to-apples comparisons of production and financial data was increasingly evident. The work of the National Pork Producers Council's Joint Committee on Industry Standards has introduced and refined the standards that will be the industry's new knowledge base.

The production and financial standards, now in place, have undergone extensive review and testing and the educational process has begun.

In order to maintain the integrity of the standards, a standardized curriculum has been developed. Twenty-two producer classes are being conducted. This curriculum consists of six sessions over a nine-month period.

Training classes will be offered to producers on a continuous basis with a minimum of 15/class. Training programs have also begun for extension staff, adult agricultural educators, farm business consultants, veterinarians, lenders, accountants and others.

Producer classes focus on:

  • Production information

  • The Return on Equity (ROE) Model;

  • Production and financial reports;

  • Commodity and activity managerial accounting;

  • Chart of accounts;

  • National Pork Database;

  • Benchmarking

Support materials developed through the standards process include:

  • The Pork Production and Financial Standards;

  • Technical Reference Manual;

  • Return on Equity Software Model;

  • Commodity/Activity Managerial Accounting Manuals and Workbooks;

  • Pork Industry Chart of Accounts Application on CD-ROM;

  • National Pork Database;

  • Pork Office (data matching, conversion, standardization program);

  • Standardized Curriculum;

  • Software Compliance;

  • The Value of Benchmarking

The National Pork Database, now available for use, will permit data collection for historical tracking and comparative analysis of production systems. Once established, both production and financial benchmarks will allow producers and their advisors to better understand the impact of their production practices, the adoption of new technology and the impact of debt, equity and capital in their operations. As their knowledge base deepens, producers will be able to ask more of the right questions to get the information necessary to make good decisions.

As part of the education curriculum, producers begin the benchmarking process that will guide them toward new, meaningful standards.

Once standards are established, producers can compare their operations with others and with the rest of the industry. Producers will learn to set benchmarking criteria based on their needs and their ability to standardize production or financial measures. Without a standard with which to compare, it is difficult to identify areas to improve and initiate plans.

Pork operations in the future will be knowledge based. The National Pork Database, combined with benchmarking activities, will be one of the foundation blocks.

For 2001, producer classes are free. Checkoff dollars support the instructors and materials and provide database access. During training, cooperating sites provide equipment, Internet access, meeting rooms and refreshments.

For more information on how to participate in a producer training class, call Jenny Felt, NPPC special programs manager, at (800) 456-7675 (ext. 771) or e-mail her at

Jenny Felt, National Pork Producers Council