Pork producers and allied industries across the value chain gathered at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells this past week to attend the 27th annual National Pork Industry Conference (NPIC). The theme of the conference was “Sustainability = Profitability and Viability.” Attendees participated in various educational seminars covering animal welfare, pork production, industry financial health, and policy topics such as California Proposition 12 implementation.
Building on that, NPPC President Scott Hays, moderated a panel with NPPC subject matter experts to discuss the pressing policy issues of the U.S. pork industry and the proactive efforts the association is taking to address them. Panelists included Kelly Cushman, vice president of domestic policy; Michael Formica, chief legal strategist; Cody McKinley, vice president of state and national relations, and Jeff Pigott, vice president of industry relations, covered a range of topics including what’s next with California Proposition 12, state ballot initiatives and the work with food service and retail leaders and provided a behind the scenes view of the important work that NPPC staff does to advance the interests of pork producers.
Additionally, NPPC’s CEO Bryan Humphreys joined the National Pork Board CEO, Bill Even, for a fireside chat. The CEOs discussed the distinct roles of the two organizations, how they work together to sustain pig farming and to expand markets for U.S. pork exports. Humpherys highlighted the work NPPC does that focuses on representing producers before state, federal and international officials responsible for legislation and regulations concerning farming, production and expanding trade. Even discussed the National Pork Board’s work with Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects.
Building on that fireside chat, the two CEOs were joined on stage by Jack Hubbard, a co-owner of Berman & Company to discuss industry efforts to address challenges from animal rights and other extremists targeting U.S. pork producers and the opportunities for each to work together and coordinate their efforts to advance the industries priorities.
Why it matters: NPPC serves a unique role as the global voice for the U.S. pork industry. Over the past 60 years, the organization has built a robust grassroots membership, strong producer leadership, and relationships with state, national and international levels of government. It is the only organization preserving the nation’s pork farmers’ freedom to operate and to expand access to global markets through advocacy. NPPC is credited for enacting reasonable policies and often preventing unreasonable ones to allow producers to continue its critical role in agriculture.
Industry conferences, like NPIC, serve as a platform for NPPC to raise awareness and educate industry stakeholders about the current public policy issues facing pork producers and how they can get involved.