"In our knowledge-based industry, the only sustainable competitive advantage is to apply knowledge faster than the competition," says Earl Dotson, NPPC vice president of Education, Environment and Production Research. "Environmental issues are the number one issue determining whether or not a producer stays in business. The National Environmental Database will help producers understand industry benchmarks."

Environmental Database

A database of information collected during 1,700 On-Farm Odor/Environmental Assessment Program farm visits shows most challenges can be corrected with management and were addressed within six months.

Reviews of hog farms by unbiased, third-party environmental professionals show that 67% of challenges were addressed by pork producers within six months. The average time to address the issue was 19 hours. The cost ranged from zero to $5,000.

The top challenges identified are the lack of a comprehensive environmental plan, although most producers had a partial plan already developed; and dust accumulation on fans, which causes unnecessary potential for odor inside and outside of buildings and slows air flow.

Financial Database

Analysis of the National Production and Financial Standards Database shows big differences in how producers keep financial records and that all can benefit from standardized recordkeeping.

With standardized records, producers can compare and analyze their records against the National Pork Database and therefore, stay competitive in the marketplace.

"Once established, both production and financial benchmarks will allow pork producers and their advisers to better understand the impact of production practices, new technology, debt, equity and capital in their operations," Dotson says.

To share information already gathered, a curriculum has been developed for producers, lenders, veterinarians, extension and adult ag educators and chief financial officers. For producers, 22 classes are scheduled throughout the country this year. Each producer will take six classes in a nine-month period.

Classes offer information on the production model, the return-on-equity model, production and financial reports, commodity and activity managerial accounting, chart of accounts, National Pork Database, benchmarking and give the opportunity for the producer to use his/her records for decision-making purposes.

For more information, visit www.nppc.org or contact your state pork producers association office.

Source: NPPC