With the success of its new Pork. Be Inspired advertising campaign launched in April, the National Pork Board will meet Tuesday to consider a proposal to extend Pork Checkoff funding of the media reach of the campaign into the fall. The board’s meeting in Des Moines is the day before the start of World Pork Expo, which runs Wednesday through Friday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
The board will also elect officers for the year beginning July 1.
“Early response to our new branding initiative, especially among our partners in the packing industry and in food retailing, has been very positive,” says Gene Nemechek, swine veterinarian and president of the National Pork Board. “Our producer-led domestic marketing committee believes we can build on this early momentum if we have the ability to purchase additional television and other advertising this fall.”
The launch of Pork. Be Inspired included national television advertising in April and May. Advertising in magazines, on radio and online is scheduled to continue through the rest of the year. But the 2011 budget approved by the board last November didn’t include television advertising beyond this spring.
“The board will have to consider this request, as well as several other mid-year budget requests, in the context of how much of our checkoff revenues we want to keep in reserve for contingencies and emergencies,” Nemecheck says.
Unexpected high pork prices have boosted checkoff revenues in 2011 above budget estimates. Producers invest 0.4% of pig sales. “We have to be certain we strike an appropriate balance between immediate needs of pork producers and planning carefully for the future. I anticipate the board will have a thorough discussion of this question,” Nemechek observes.
The board also expects to hear a report on the impact of a recent decision by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to lower the safe cooking temperature of pork muscle cuts from 160 degrees F to 145 degrees F, followed by a three-minute rest period. The board earlier approved the expenditure of additional checkoff funds to help disseminate the news to consumers.
The board will also hear about a recently completed comprehensive report by Pork Checkoff staff and producer-led committees examining and prioritizing issues facing pork producers.
Program reports will be presented, including progress of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), an alliance of more than 40 commodity groups, including the National Pork Board. USFRA is working to protect the freedom of farmers and ranchers to operate their businesses and to elevate their voices in the public discussion of issues pertaining to the production of healthy food for everyone. The board has allocated up to $3 million in support of USFRA.