There has been much turmoil with the pork checkoff program in the last year. As a local pork producer, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few facts about the recent settlement agreement reached between the USDA and the National Pork Producers Council. After NPPC and the Michigan Pork Producers Council filed a lawsuit against USDA, the Justice Department reviewed the referendum process and the lawsuit, and recommended that USDA settle the case out of court.
USDA released a statement stating that they could not terminate the pork checkoff program because the referendum was not conducted under the provisions of the Pork Act of 1985, which requires 15 percent of bona fide pork producers to sign a petition requesting such a referendum. Because the 15 percent was not reached, USDA could not legally terminate the pork checkoff program.
Through the settlement agreement there will be a distinct separation of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board. NPPC will be responsible for all noncheckoff-funded programs, such as public policy and legislative issues. NPB will be responsible for checkoff-funded programs in the areas of research, education and promotion.
I feel that these changes will better the pork industry, and I encourage all Ohio pork producers to become involved. The thought of a pork industry without promotion, research and education is a scary thought.
Ohio has many small pork producers and we cannot do all the things the pork checkoff program does on our own. Look at how successful the “Pork. The Other White Meat” campaign has been, it is now the fifth most memorable advertising campaign in the nation. By paying a small part of our hog sales into a program that helps the entire industry to increase demand and help ensure our future is the least we can do.