The National Pork Board, at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, approved a newly defined position statement on antibiotic stewardship and also elected new officers.
Following unanimous approval, the Pork Board updated its position and policy statement that "embraces responsible antibiotic use in pork production" and pledges to "emphasize these values in its revised Pork Quality Assurance Plus producer certification and training programs" in the year ahead.
Additionally, the National Pork Board intends to allocate up to $1.4 million in funding of scientific research and antibiotic risk assessment studies, producer education and consumer awareness programs.
"We understand the critically important role antibiotics play in both human medicine and in livestock production and know that consumers are keenly interested in how their food is produced," said Chris Hodges, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "This stewardship plan will shape our industry's approach to antibiotics, finding ways for our pig farmers to improve animal health with and without antibiotics."
New Pork Board officers
In other action, Derrick Sleezer, a pork producer from Cherokee, Iowa, was elected as president of the National Pork Board. Sleezer is serving his second three-year term on the National Pork Board and just concluded two years as the board's treasurer.
Sleezer is an owner and employee of Sleezer, Inc., a farrow-to-finish, farrow-to-wean and farrow-to-feeder operation that has 700 sows and markets 15,000 hogs annually. The operation also includes 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans.
"First and foremost, I am proud to be an American pig farmer and to serve my industry in leading the Pork Checkoff in the year ahead," Sleezer said. "There is great consumer interest in agriculture and in understanding how food is grown, raised and marketed. I see much opportunity in the year ahead as we help shape that story."
More new officers >>
Serving with Sleezer as vice president is Jan Archer, a pork producer from Goldsboro, N.C and owner of Archer Farms LLC. The farrow-to-wean operation has 1,200 sows and produces about 31,000 weaned pigs annually.
Terry O'Neel, a producer from Friend, Neb., was elected treasurer. O'Neel is the owner and manager of O'Neel Farm, a farrow-to-finish operation with 500 sows that markets 10,000 hogs annually. He also raises corn and soybeans on 700 acres.
The three executive officers will serve one-year terms in their positions beginning June 3. Outgoing president Dale Norton, a producer from Bronson, Mich., will serve in a non-voting role as immediate past president.
"As we look ahead to the next five years, the Pork Checkoff is prepared to meet the challenges facing our industry," Sleezer said. "Guided by the strategic plan, we have a sharp focus on building consumer trust, driving sustainable production and growing consumer demand for U.S. pork."