Of the 13% of producers that said the industry was headed in the wrong direction, the most commonly reported reason was related to competition, too much regulation, the inability to turn a profit and disease problems. Only 6% of those surveyed blamed their lack of optimism on "disease."
Image of pork industry also seen as improving
Another indicator that things are looking up is that, in general, those pig farmers surveyed believe that the consumers' image of their work has improved, up 6 percentage points from last year. A total of 56% of producers surveyed said that consumer image is positive, with only 21% saying the image is negative.
Related: The Good and the Bad of Today's Pork Production
At 56%, this positive perception among producers is the second highest in each of the last five years of the survey, and up from 50% in 2012. Likewise, producers feel that negative impressions have decreased - from 24% in 2012 to 21% in 2013 - a positive change of three percentage points.
Record-high approval of the Pork Checkoff
A final indicator of producer optimism is support of the Pork Checkoff. According to the 2013 survey, 87% of producers, the highest level on record, said that they support the Checkoff, with only 6% in opposition. The remaining producers either were neutral in their support or did not know how to respond.
"In my opinion, this is a vote of confidence in the steps we take every day to promote pork and provide valuable research to our producers," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "The difference of 81 points separating support from opposition is the highest in the survey's 12-year history. It is to a point that it will be difficult to improve upon this score, but we'll continue to work hard to earn the trust and confidence of all producers."