Growing consumer demand for pork, foreign animal disease preparedness and diversifying export markets are top priorities for the National Pork Board this year based on producer requests.
CEO Bill Even says pork demand surged in 2020 and their job this year is to devise a plan to maintain that demand domestically and push growth globally.
“We are hoping to push about another 600 billion pounds of pork between now and 2025. That is really important as part of our diversification strategy.”
He says the COVID-19 outbreak also taught them a lot about managing pandemic diseases, which laid out three components for this year.
“Keep African Swine Fever out, prepare in the event of an outbreak and have surveillance in place so that we are able to detect early.”
He says 26% of the $55 million 2021 project budget will go towards diversifying export markets, followed by pork promotion through the Real Pork brand receiving 23% and 17% going to foreign animal disease prevention and preparation.
He says nutrition research, consumer education, labor development, emerging technology, and sharing the story of sustainable and ethical production practices are also priority areas for checkoff funding this year.
Even spoke during a video series hosted by the Illinois Pork Producers Association in place of their annual expo.