Pork producer leaders and National Pork Board staff will gather in Des Moines, IA, in early September to work on budget recommendations for 2010.

Pork price shortfalls in 2009 and projections that producers may not return to profitability until spring 2010 have reduced Pork Checkoff revenues, prompting board members to tighten spending for the remainder of 2009.

Earlier this summer, the board authorized a 2010 spending limit of $46.2 million, approximately 20% below authorized 2009 spending.

“This will be a budget that recognizes that pork producers are hurting and need whatever help they can get from the Pork Checkoff to market their product,” says Tim Bierman, Pork Board president and Larrabee, IA, producer. “I hesitate to call this new budget a crisis budget, but that’s what it is,” he says.

“The producers who will be here Sept. 10 and 11 to produce a balanced budget for the board’s consideration in November have their work cut out for them,” Bierman says. “There are going to be some very difficult choices and decisions.”

Besides preliminary work on the budget on the afternoon of Sept. 9, the board will also review new consumer research on the effectiveness of the National Pork Board’s 22-year-old The Other White Meat brand.

Board members are also expected to get an update from its task force working on a new strategic plan for the Pork Board. The producer-led task force has met twice and will meet again later this month before making its recommendation to the board in November. Listening sessions on the strategic plan were held in Nebraska, Indiana and North Carolina. An online survey has also been available to all producers.

National Pork Board meetings are open to the public. Those interested in attending should contact Lorraine Garner at lgarner@pork.org or (515) 223-2600.