By Mike King
When it comes to the Pork Checkoff’s core mission of research, education and promotion, the National Pork Board’s Science and Technology department delivers. Whether it’s the work of specific, producer- led committees that fund research for PRRS, sow productivity, antibiotics or sustainability, producers are receiving high value for their Checkoff investment.
In fact, a Cornell University study pegged the return at more than $83 in value for every $1 in Pork Checkoff funds invested in production research.
“As producers, we can feel good about the payback we’re getting from our Checkoff investment from many areas, but the science and technology area is certainly a place where it’s quite substantial,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Alcester, South Dakota.
“We’re getting more strategic with our research investments,” Rommereim said. “And we’re seeking out more collaboration and seeing where we can get the most bang for our Checkoff investment.”
Collaboration Pays Off
According to Dave Pyburn, DVM, vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, working more closely than ever with like-minded organizations is the key to doing more with less.
“It’s not a new concept for the Pork Checkoff, but we’re certainly getting better at it as we’ve seen how the multiplier effect can really stretch producers’ investment and achieve better results,” Pyburn said.
In a multi-year collaboration with the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, Pyburn calculates that the Pork Checkoff was able to save $516,000 on 10 projects that focused on foreign animal disease.
“We’re not be able to achieve this level of savings every time, but we’re certainly trying to do that on some level with all of our research projects,” Pyburn added. “It’s about getting results and finding the right partners at the right time. That’s something we’re committed to doing.”
According to Pyburn, bringing tangible, farm-focused results and solutions to producers is the overarching objective of work overseen by the Checkoff’s science and technology team.
“We try to focus our efforts on finding real- world solutions using a science-based approach,” Pyburn said. “This includes every area that we work in – animal science, human nutrition, swine welfare, swine health, public health, pork safety and quality, and sustainability.”
“We’re committed to delivering more information and creating useful tools for producers,” Pyburn said. “We encourage producers to give us feedback and to participate in committees. We want to collaborate with even more industry partners as we move forward to ensure that we’re delivering usable, relevant information to the entire pork chain.”