August 5, 2010
Contact: Cindy Cunningham
National Pork Board
Pork producers are more committed than ever to demonstrating how much they care about producing safe and nutritious food, the well-being of their animals and protecting the environment. Through some amazing efforts, they have reached another important milestone for the National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street (OMS) program. On Aug. 4, volunteer OMS speakers achieved the Pork Checkoff-funded program’s 4,000th speech.
“Thanks to our volunteers, OMS has grown into a significant asset for the pork industry and an important voice for the pork industry’s We Care initiative,” said Perry Aasness, vice president of industry relations for the Pork Checkoff. “OMS speakers are now showing key decision-makers and influencers such as county commissioners, dietitians, and small animal veterinarians, how pork producers are working hard every day to do the right thing.”
We Care is a pork industry initiative designed to help producers demonstrate they are committed to established ethical principals and animal well-being practices.
Mary Kelpinski, executive director of the Michigan Pork Producers Association in Holt, Mich., presented the 4,000th OMS speech to the Rotary Club in Warren, Mich., on Aug. 4. Kelpinski has been an OMS speaker since Sept. 2008 and has already scheduled 49 OMS speeches. Kelpinski is among almost 800 OMS trained speakers in 30 states.
Since OMS was launched in 2004, volunteers have continually gone above and beyond to speak out for the pork industry:
• 63 speakers have scheduled 20 or more speeches
• During a two-week period, almost every county commissioner in Nebraska heard from an OMS speaker
• One speaker logged 600 miles in one week to give six OMS presentations
“I am amazed and inspired by how hard these volunteers work every day to build trust and understanding not only in rural communities but also in urban centers,” said Ernie Barnes director of industry relations for the Pork Checkoff. “And, they are always ready to step up when there are new challenges and opportunities to help the pork industry.”
The 4000th speech milestone means:
• Almost 116,000 consumers and opinion leaders have heard firsthand about the pork industry’s innovation, stewardship and economic impact from actual pork producers.
• More than 17 million people have seen positive pork industry news coverage based on an OMS media outreach program.
Through the OMS program, producers and other industry leaders receive intensive speaker training and updates on emerging issues so that they can speak out on behalf of the pork industry. Topics covered by the speakers include environmental issues, changes in the pork industry, new technologies pork producers use and the positive impact pork production has on local and state economies.
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or www.pork.org.