The National Pork Board has named a new task force that will examine consumer needs, animal care, sustainable pork production and other current challenges facing the industry to define a future vision of the Pork Checkoff and, on a larger scale, the entire pork industry.
Dale Norton, a pork producer from Bronson, who is NPB vice president and a member of the board of directors of Michigan Pork Producers Association (MPPA) will serve on the task force along with fellow MPPA board member and past National Pork Producers Council board member Bob Dykhuis, from Holland.
The yearlong planning process will review research, market data and opinions of industry leaders to set a strategic vision that will carry the organization from 2015 through 2020. The primary goal is to assess the Pork Checkoff's role in an ever-changing world and set the priorities that can help pork producers better meet customer needs.
The current five-year strategic plan was unveiled in 2009 and will be complete this year. Through that process, the Pork Checkoff defined three critical issues, including: protecting a producer's freedom to operate, enhancing U.S. and international consumer demand for pork and making U.S. pork producers more competitive in the global marketplace.
For the first time, the planning process will bring together pork producers, animal health experts, packers, processors and food distributors, and foodservice and retail experts. By involving key leaders from both pork production and its allied industries, the National Pork Board expects diverse opinions to inform its deliberations.
"Only through sharing information with each other and truly looking at our industry through the eyes of its key partners can we fully assess the challenges and opportunities that are ahead," says NPB Chief Executive Officer, Chris Novak. "For me, strategic planning comes down to analyzing three fundamental questions - Where are we today? Where do we want to be? How do we get there together?
"For example, we need to further our commitment to transparency and make all consumers aware of the ethical principles that guide our actions and business. We are committed to responsible and ethical animal agriculture that extends from animal care to environmental stewardship to food and worker safety programs, but, what if - and how can - we improve? Together we will take that input and turn it into a plan of action."
The process will use a variety of tools to engage stakeholders in the planning process, including providing an opportunity for each of the more than 60,000 U.S. pork producers to participate by answering surveys and submitting opinions. The task force will collect valuable information from farmers, customers and supply chain partners. To facilitate a dialogue on the future of the pork industry, pork producers can email comments to -WhatIffirstname.lastname@example.org - on how the Pork Checkoff can best strengthen tomorrow's industry.