The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is countering claims made by groups affiliated with the Campaign for Family Farms alleging misuse of pork checkoff funds.

The groups are targeting a study done by Louisiana State University (LSU) designed to assess and set the proper direction for producer education programs, according to Karl Johnson, Mankato, MN, producer and co-chair of the Vote Yes Task Force.

The LSU economic research study did not involve the use of pork checkoff funds except to support the printing and mailing costs, says Jeffery Gillespie, LSU agricultural economics associate professor. Results won't be available until August 2001, therefore, having no impact on the outcome of the referendum.

The activist groups also alleged NPPC was misusing checkoff funds in Colorado. "In reality, the Colorado Pork Producers Council used state checkoff funds to air consumer radio commercials in Colorado, the content of which USDA had approved," says Johnson.

By law, pork checkoff dollars can only be used to encourage producers to vote.