A leading panel of pork industry experts discussed sustainability, FAD, labor and trade at World Pork Expo.
Pork Checkoff Priorities
Bill Even, CEO, National Pork Board
National Pork Board CEO Bill Even highlighted the 2022 priorities set by the Board of Directors:
- Real Pork: Build trust and add value through a positive image of U.S. pork
- Keep ASF out: Foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness
- Sustainability: Establish U.S. pork as a global sustainability leader
- Grassroots engagement: Support and engage producers, including contract growers
- Diversify international portfolio: Maintain and grow international markets for U.S. pork
Even stressed the importance of working collaboratively with industry partners and stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels. Partners include the National Pork Producers Council, U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, North American Meat Institute and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.
“There are some very passionate producers, veterinarians and staff that are working diligently to knock off ‘what can we do better tomorrow.’ We cannot do that without you.”
Bill Even, National Pork Board CEO
Even also emphasized the importance of telling our own story as an industry. As consumers continue to ask for transparency about how their food is raised, it is crucial to use all tools at our disposal to claim and take credit for the work the industry has been doing.
Steve Meyer, Ph.D., economist, Partners for Production Agriculture
Profitability continues to be a key priority for producers. As the prices of feed and fuel continue rising due to global events, production costs are also increasing. Other issues that can affect profitability include Prop 12, the threat of African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases, the hog supply, operational capacity, labor and building costs.
Victor Ochoa, managing director, SwineWorks LLC
The last time there was a labor shortage like the current situation was during World War II. This has caused an increase in wages and in competition. A huge spike in retirements over the last two years, accelerated by the pandemic, and a limited migrant workforce due to changes in immigration policies have played a role in shrinking the workforce.
The pork industry can position itself as a competitive employer by:
- Taking care of current staff
- Updating benefit packages and wages
- Attracting younger generation
- Getting on social media
- Exploring other visa options
Sara Crawford, Ph.D., president, Sustainable Environmental Consultants
For pork producers, sustainability is beyond a buzz word. It is what farmers have been doing forever.
“We have to have business sustainability. It is not decoupling efficiency and business sustainability from taking care of the earth, taking care of our pigs. People, pigs and planet.
Sara Crawford, Ph.D., Sustainability Environment Consultants President.
The United Nations defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” There are only two industries that are truly capable of being sustainable: agriculture and forestry.
Consumers want to know where food is coming from more now than ever. As an industry, we need to help them understand and gain their trust by making it easy for them to access information and learn about the pork production process.
On-Farm Sustainability Reports continue to be the best way to take credit for the work the industry has done. These reports provide real data on your farm’s operations. They can be shared with stakeholders, lenders and partners and help you tell your sustainability story.
Foreign Animal Disease
Jeff Kaisand, DVM, state veterinarian, Iowa Department of Agriculture
Foreign animal diseases continue to be a threat for pork producers. Looking at countries that recently have seen outbreaks, none of them were able to contain and get rid of it quickly. It is imperative to be proactive and prepared, rather than reactive.
Foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness is in the hands of producers. Tools such as AgView, which can be used for contact tracing in the case of an outbreak, make it possible to react quickly and effectively.
Watch the Full Recording
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit porkcheckoff.org.