Pork Quality and Safety Summit
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) will be holding the 2000 Pork Quality and Safety Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on July 11-12, 2000. This Summit, first held in 1998, targets individuals throughout the pork chain interested in the production and processing of safe, high-quality pork. Excellent presentations are being lined up to provide the latest information and technology available in the fields of pork quality and safety. The format of this meeting will involve general sessions and concurrent sessions on pork quality, preharvest pork safety, and postharvest pork safety. More information about this educational opportunity will be sent to you.
On-Farm Odor/Environmental Assistance Program
The On-Farm Odor/Environmental Assistance Program (OFO/EAP) is a comprehensive pork production site assessment conducted by neutral, third-party, trained assessors to thoroughly evaluate all key environmental aspects of a pork operation. The assessment is an objective, nonregulatory, voluntary, and confidential free program for pork producers. The goal of the program is to improve public perception of the pork industry and to promote environmental stewardship. The assessment process identifies specific odor and water quality risk areas for pork producers in a one-on-one educational setting. Over 800 producers 12have participated in the program since it was introduced.
As you work with pork producers, you may want to encourage them to participate in the OFO/EAP program. If you have any questions or need more information about the program please contact Denise Veldhuizen, Program Manager OFO/EAP, at 515-223-3538.
Budget boost to combat animal disease
Responding to the increased risk of the introduction of foreign animal diseases, President Clinton will reportedly seek $340 million over the next 7 years to step up research and improve facilities. About $40 million of the planned budget request will be spent to build a more sophisticated research facility on Plum Island, New York, to study diseases in large animals that can easily infect humans and for which there are no vaccines. The remainder would be spent to upgrade the United States Department of Agriculture's 30-year-old research center in Ames, Iowa.
USDA officials say it is imperative that facilities be improved to maintain a safe food supply and to protect public health and the $100 billion livestock industry.
The Animal Agriculture Coalition (AAC), a 31-member coalition of livestock, including the NPPC and poultry organizations and veterinary and scientific groups, held a briefing for Senate and House staffers and met with officials from the Office of Management and Budget on January 19, 2000. The AAC supports increased research funding, as well as the completion of a world-class National Animal Health Emergency Management System, which would coordinate the national response in the event of a disease outbreak.
Status of the pork checkoff referendum petition and validation process
The NPPC and National Pork Board representatives, as well as opponents to the pork checkoff program, met with the USDA on January 5, 2000 for a status report on the petition validation process calling for a referendum on the pork checkoff. The USDA announced that the petition was currently more then 2550 signatures short. As law requires through the Pork Act and Order, signatures of 15% of bona fide pork producers, or 14,986 producers according to the USDA, are needed to trigger a vote. The Pork Act and Order defines pork producers as those who market hogs in a representative period and pay the checkoff.
The information presented by USDA to the pork industry at the January 5 meeting has been summarized in a Pork Checkoff Referendum Petition Status Fact Sheet that can be found on the NPPC's website at www.nppc.org under the Industry News and Information section. It details the thorough and statistically valid process the USDA is using to ensure that bona fide pork producers favor holding a referendum.
"Pork producers who pay the checkoff should be the ones who decide the future of the programs it funds," according to NPPC President John McNutt of Iowa City, Iowa. "As we have said throughout this process, we strongly support the law as written in the Pork Act and Order, which states that a referendum on the checkoff will be held if 15% of bona fide pork producers request one."