National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim of Alcester, South Dakota highlights the work being done by the Pork Checkoff. From advancements in digital marketing to the response to African Swine Fever, Rommereim details the important issues of the day.
Steve Rommereim, President, National Pork Board
Don Wick: 00:00 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff, and today our guest is Steve Rommereim, who is the president of the National Pork Board, a pork producer from Alcester, South Dakota. And Steve, we always focus on ROI. Give us a look and the Pork Checkoff perspective. What are some of the accomplishments that we’re seeing right now with the National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff?
Steve Rommereim: 00:34 Wow! I’ll tell you what, you know, it seems like there’s something new every day. There’s a lot of challenges in this business, and in association work it’s no different. And I’ll tell you some of the things I’m really, really proud of is our work with the threat of ASF. Okay. African swine fever spreading all over China, some in Europe. And I tell you what, you know our science teams and everybody is really working hard to figure out how can we keep it out, if we do get it, what are we going to do? That planning process is going to be critical possibly not if, but when, when these things come. So proud of those things, these systems will be in place for forever, we hope, and as long as there’s pig production in America, we’re going to have threats like this. So that’s one thing.
Steve Rommereim: 01:20 Another is a partnership we’re just getting started with Google and I was just out in California here beginning of the week. I’m still working on the time zone thing and the time change and so, challenging but, those folks at Google, it’s fascinating stuff. I’ll tell you, you know, we started with four videos on YouTube about how to prepare a pork chop and these folks are chefs, if you will, on YouTube, so they have their own following. And these four videos generated 170 million views. And however they do the math figure they generate about $9,000,000 worth of pork sales. Now I would say that might be better than billboards. Okay. So in this world, you know, and especially working with Millennials and Gen Zs, that phone is 150 times a day and just about everybody Googles something every day.
Steve Rommereim: 02:16 So using that platform and the work that we’re getting started, if you will, we only did four videos, so work’s being done there. And I tell you what, I can see a whole new revolution of demand generated because we’re in the right place. And so I’m really extremely proud of our people for getting, getting in the door and, you know, you can generate an awful lot of business with very little effort when you’re in the right place.
Don Wick: 02:45 Kind of that gee whiz kind of territory here. When you’re sitting down with the folks from Google, you know, pork production is a very traditional business. How do you see those combinations coming together and how does it mean? What does it mean for the pork industry?
Steve Rommereim: 02:58 Yeah, I tell you what, domestic demand, okay, folks in our country that eat pork. Those numbers don’t change a lot and, of course, we’re marketing to different group.
Steve Rommereim: 03:09 You and I as boomers, I’m assuming here, you know, we pretty much knew how to market to our crowd and at least sustain what we’re doing in this country. Well, the generations behind us now have had a phone in front of them since a lot of them were 4 or 5 years old. So information and curiosity, you know, they’re able to get the answer now and you never know if it’s the right answer or not, but it is an answer. So being in front of people with the right answers is critical moving forward. So how do you do that? You do it through Google, you do it through those platforms. Work with Yummly, which is an app that people download and you have access to millions of recipes and how to cook things. So we’re in partnership with those folks as well. Another organization out there called FameBit and we’re starting to work with them a little bit and that’s another platform by which you can get pork in front of people.
Steve Rommereim: 04:04 So all of these efforts on the demand side, I tell you what, are going to be worth every penny you throw at it because of how big they are and how many, how much they generate. So you know, this is, this is some very important work that we’re doing right now and very, very exciting and it’s going to mean a lot to our producers to start moving that demand needle domestically.
Don Wick: 04:27 You always talk about getting that return on investment for producers. Just want to make sure that they’re Checkoff dollars are being used widely and that’s why it’s so important to be out in front of all these kinds of issues.
Steve Rommereim: 04:37 Absolutely! Our CEO, Bill Even, a very wise man, says we got to move at the speed of business. That’s hard for farming because we’re at home, we’re busy, we’re doing production, continually improving. There’s no doubt in my mind that the pork production itself is improving every day. And a lot of that is because of Checkoff, non-Checkoff, all the organizations that are out there providing the research and the information, the education necessary. And, you know, what I oftentimes will sit and what would all of ag do without our associations because we wouldn’t have those sources, that research. So I’m always trying to pump up, you know, these groups are doing great work and I don’t care if you raise corn, pigs, chickens, whatever it is, there’s somebody out there working for you. And very, very worth the dollars.
Don Wick: 05:27 Steve Rommereim from the National Pork Board. Thanks to you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.