Delegates to National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, MO, on March 5-6, discussed and addressed numerous resolutions and advisements during the annual business meetings of the National Pork Board (Pork Checkoff) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
Pork Act delegates gave direction to the National Pork Board as they allocate checkoff funds to research, education and pork promotion. Delegates supported five resolutions or advisements, as follows:
- Recognizing that the USDA has abandoned the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), delegates supported a motion that acknowledges the need for a standardized animal identification and pre-harvest traceability system to ensure ongoing trade and commerce in the event of a highly contagious swine disease outbreak. The “advisement” calls on pork producers to continue their support of premises identification and registration with their state animal health divisions, and to continue using the national premises identification numbers for identifying and tracking animal movements.
- A motion focused on disease naming nomenclature received solid support from delegates. The advisement urges all media, government agencies and health care professionals to use “correct scientific terminology” when naming diseases, and to be unbiased and accurate in their public statements in an effort to avoid unwarranted fear among the general public. Using the H1N1 virus as an example, if a virus originates in an animal and moves to people, the animal (species) would be included in the name. Since the 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus was first found in people, it was incorrect to include “swine” in the name.
- Drawing the most discussion in the Pork Act delegate meeting was the advisement to review the “return-to-state” formula. Passed on an electronic shares vote, the motion states: “To explore the current return-to-state formula for the Pork Act Checkoff program as part of the Strategic Plan ‘Working Group on the (National) Pork Board’s Partnership with Other Industry Organizations,’ and return to the 2011 National Pork Forum delegates with a recommendation on suggested changes, given the current environment and increased local pressures states are under to promote and defend the industry.” It was noted that many efforts have shifted to the state’s plan-of-work and that the current return-to-state formula does not support a budget that is needed to meet the changing environment.
- Delegates directed the National Pork Boards Producer and State Relations Committee to evaluate the feasibility of providing financial support (i.e. mileage and equipment logistics reimbursement) to Operation Main Street presenters. A report and recommendation will be conveyed to the Pork Board.
- Delegates directed the National Pork Board to invest additional resources, as available, to support a strong industry image campaign.
NPPC Delegate Actions
During the National Pork Producers Council’s annual meeting, delegates likewise supported the development and implementation of a comprehensive swine disease surveillance system to address animal health and public health needs, the use of proper terminology when naming new endemic diseases, and supported investments in an industry image-building campaign.
In addition, NPPC delegates endorsed these motions:
- Urge all producers to work with their veterinarians in submitting swine influenza virus (SIV) surveillance samples to the USDA SIV surveillance program.
- Oppose changes in the process used by FDA and USDA when traceback to the farm occurs.
- Oppose Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) advanced notice of approved rulemaking for regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Furthermore, delegates opposed climate change legislation (cap and trade) at the state or national level that would reduce grain acres, raise the price of inputs, and create cuts in pork production in those countries that support the climate change goals.
- Delegates voted to support a comprehensive study to determine the advantages and disadvantages of increasing the (ethanol) blend to all segments of agriculture.
- In addition, delegates supported efforts to eliminate the porcine respiratory and reproduction syndrome (PRRS) virus, including requests for appropriate federal funding. However, the NPPC resolution was amended to read: “The policy must not make eradicating the PRRS virus a government mandate.”