The Role of the Pork Checkoff in Today’s Industry

Wednesday, Jun 03, 2009 – The Pork Checkoff is helping U.S. pork producers as they work to earn the trust of their customers by demonstrating accountability and social responsibility in all they do.

“We know that many producers are struggling right now with a profitability challenge on top of the hit the markets took during the H1N1 outbreak,” said Chris Novak, chief executive office for the National Pork Board.  “The Pork Checkoff is helping producers work together to build a stronger industry. Producers are relying on the Checkoff to focus on emerging issues, to promote their product and to demonstrate their commitment to meeting consumer and customer expectations.”

The Checkoff, together with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and state pork associations worked together on the recent H1N1 outbreak.

“This team worked together to monitor and respond to issues that emerged during the outbreak,” said Novak.

A few of the coordinated efforts included: consumer media relations; advertising; communications with food-chain partners and international markets; producer communications and on-farm disease surveillance.

“We are continuing to work with a focus on market recovery and biosecurity,” said Novak.  “We also continue to plan for the anticipated fall influenza season.”

The Pork Checkoff also is focusing on domestic marketing by promoting pork at home.  The Checkoff is in year two of The Other White Meat® Tour celebrating pork’s benefits with consumers through cooking demonstrations, product sampling and one-on-one interactions.  The tour integrates advertising, public relations and retail efforts.

“During the first two quarters of 2009, the Checkoff executed 47 retail promotions across the country,” said Novak.  “As a result, an estimated 250 million pounds of pork moved through the retail channel.”

Novak continued, “The Checkoff has been actively involved with the conception and development of Fire Grilled Ribs, an exciting new pork product, currently being tested by the Burger King Corporation in the Las Vegas and Indianapolis markets. Upon completion of the test marketing program Burger King plans to offer the product in up to 3,500 of its nearly 8,000 U.S. restaurants later this year.”

The Checkoff is working to demonstrate producers’ commitment to meeting consumer and customer expectations through We Care.  The Checkoff, together with NPPC, is encouraging producers to follow the ethical principles set forth in We Care.  Through We Care, producers are demonstrating their commitment to:

  • Produce safe food
  • Safeguard natural resources
  • Provide a work environment that is safe and consistent with other ethical principles
  • Contribute to a better quality of life in their communities
  • Protect and promote animal well-being
  • Protect public health

Through the Pork Checkoff, producers are working together to build a stronger industry.


The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit www.pork.org.