Support broadens to include production and financial standards

Many AASP members have been involved in Pork Quality AssuranceSM activities from the program's inception in 1989. The PQA PartnerSM Program began in 1995 as a way to enlist the help of pork allied industries in encouraging all United States pork producers to complete the Pork Quality AssuranceSM Program. In April 1997, the AASP accepted a more structured role in promoting PQA by becoming a PQA PartnerSM. In 1998, the PQA PartnerSM Program evolved into the Pork Producer Partners SM Program, which included support and promotion of the Pork Quality Assurance Program and the Environmental Assurance ProgramSM as well as other learning opportunities for swine producers. Now support has further broadened to include the Production and Financial Guidelines that were developed over 3 years by the NPPC's Joint Committee on Industry Standards. The committee consisted of over 250 individuals, including pork producers, lenders, accountants, educators, consultants, veterinarians, software company representatives, and others from allied industries.

Currently, comparing production and financial information with others in the pork industry is difficult due to lack of standardization. The guidelines are intended to:

  • promote uniformity in production and financial standards for the pork industry by presenting correct and technically sound methods for financial and production reporting,
  • present standardized definitions and methods for calculating financial and production information, and
  • develop a national pork database of standardized production and financial information to allow accurate benchmarking.

Once this standardized database is developed, such uniformity will permit collection of data for historical tracking and comparative analysis of pork production systems. Eventually, industry benchmarks will be developed that will allow producers and their advisors to better understand the impact of production practices, new technology, debt, equity, and capital on their operations. Knowing more about their operations will help producers make the right decisions to ensure the success and long-term future of their operations. Benchmarking will assist veterinarians in evaluating the costs and benefits of various interventions on herd health, reproductive parameters, and other areas.

A standardized training curriculum has been developed and training has begun with veterinarians, extension personnel, adult agriculture educators, farm business consultants, lenders, accountants, and other interested groups. A core of certified instructors will be trained to do "train the trainer" work over the next 2 years, and training classes will continually be offered to producers. Any individual who has gone through the instructor certification process (a 6-day course costing $695) is encouraged to first accompany a producer through his training process (five classes over 1 year) before attempting to train other producers. Trainers may use their own discretion on whether to charge producers for their training. The March 1, 1999 gold edition of National Hog Farmer, Production & Financial Standards for the Pork Industry, discussed the rationale for the new guidelines and described the NPPC Standard Measures in detail, along with the formulas used for calculations. Copies of this special edition can be obtained by contacting the NPPC office at 515-223-2600.

--Contributed by Dr. Teddi Wolff,
AASP Public Relations Committee