News from the National Pork Board
Pork Checkoff LogoUpdated PQA Plus program launched at expo

The Pork Checkoff has launched its latest version of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program at the 2013 World Pork Expo held recently in Des Moines. The longstanding program is largely the same, but does have some new material in it – namely, new information on proper antibiotic use.

“The newly updated section on antibiotics is designed to provide producers with a more integrated and comprehensive approach to responsible antibiotic use in the familiar context of PQA Plus,” said Jennifer Koeman, DVM, Checkoff’s Director of Producer and Public Health.

In addition to the changes in antibiotic information, changes reflecting the inclusion of the We Care initiative were introduced on practices related to the public-health ethical principle and environmental stewardship. Worker safety practices and other tools for continuous improvement were also included. The addition of a testing component was explained, as it will add credibility to the pork industry by displaying a commitment to continuous improvement and education.

For more information, go to or contact Sherrie Niekamp at or 515-223-3533.

PQA Plus numbers continue to grow

In a recent review, Pork Checkoff found that more than 56,000 producers are certified in the PQA Plus program. Additionally, sites representing approximately 74% of all pigs raised are on farms that have been site assessed. The second round of independent third-party verifications resulted in visits to 90 sites selected at random to help identify ways to improve the PQA Plus program.

For more information, contact Dinah Peebles at or 515- 223-2795.

Pork Checkoff announces recipients of the 2013 pork industry scholarships

The Pork Checkoff has awarded 22 scholarships to college students around the United States as part of its strategy to develop the pork industry’s human capital for the future. Successful applicants were selected from a pool of 41 applicants on the basis of scholastic merit, leadership activities, involvement in the pork industry, and future plans for a career in pork production. The recipients represented 13 states, 14 universities, and seven swine-related career paths.

“Helping to develop the next generation of pork professionals is one of the top issues the Pork Checkoff has identified as critical for the industry’s future,” said Conley Nelson, president of the National Pork Board and producer from Algona, Iowa. “Our ongoing service and obligation to producers includes ensuring that there is a sustainable source of young people ready to take on the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement in all aspects of pork production. While our industry has made huge strides in recent years, these young people will ultimately help us take our game to the next level.”

For more information, contact Chris Hostetler at or 515-223-2600.

Promote We Care culture in the barn

The Pork Checkoff continued to spread the message of We Care to producers, employees, and production partners. Producers need to continue to walk the talk and do what’s right every day. To help producers keep the We Care ethical principles top of mind, a series of barn posters were developed in English and Spanish, complete with a trainer’s guide. The Checkoff’s annual producer survey found that 71% of pork producers said they have heard about the pork industry’s We Care initiative.

To get copies of the We Care posters, go to

For more information, contact Bryn Jensson at or 515-223-2752.

Jennifer Koeman (right), recipient of the NIAA President’s Award presented during the annual conference. Pictured with Jennifer is Scott Stuart, Managing Director of NIAA.

Checkoff’s Koeman receives NIAA award

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) awarded its President’s Award to the Pork Checkoff’s director of producer and public health, Jennifer Koeman, DVM, during the organization’s annual conference held recently in Louisville, Kentucky. The President’s Award recognizes an NIAA committee or council chairman or vice chairman for exemplary leadership and dedication to the organization.

“Dr Koeman is a young polished professional who has the leadership qualities typically found in a person many years her senior,” said Katie Ambrose, NIAA’s Chief Operating Officer, who presented the award to Koeman. “She is one of the best and brightest in the industry and is truly dedicated to the mission of NIAA’s Antibiotics Council.”

For more information about NIAA, go to

Certified Swine Manager credential available

The Pork Checkoff ‘s new Certified Swine Manager Program encourages professional development by 1) offering certification to validate knowledge gained and work accomplished, 2) establishing educational standards and providing resources to acquire knowledge, and 3) defining a core body of knowledge needed to achieve standards in pork production.

For more information, contact Jim Lummus at or 515-223-2600.