The National Pork Board will hold its first meeting of 2011 this week in Oklahoma City, Okla. The meeting, scheduled for this Wednesday through Saturday, continues a tradition begun two years ago when the board held its first traveling Board Meeting in Raleigh, N.C. Last year the Pork Board met in Columbus, Ohio. The board hopes that Oklahoma producers and producer leaders will participate in the meeting.
Oklahoma ranks eighth nationally in total swine numbers and fifth in the number of pigs produced; the state is a major producer of piglets that are finished in nearby states. According to data from the USDA, Oklahoma producers market approximately 7.5 million hogs annually, producing cash receipts of more than $636 million. Nearly 16,000 Oklahomans are employed in swine production.
Gene Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, Ark., and president of the National Pork Board, points out that producers from different parts of the country face unique challenges and sometimes have unique views on issues confronting the pork production industry. Nemechek says they look forward to learning from fellow producers in Oklahoma.
During this week's meeting board members will have their plate full. Wednesday evening a roundtable discussion of industry challenges and opportunities will be conducted. On Thursday, the focus is on specific Oklahoma issues, priorities and programs. Also included that day is a tour of Lopez Foods, a major pork processor for quick-service restaurants.
Friday's schedule is full, too. One of the many topics to be discussed will cover new and emerging production technologies and how to measure the potential impact of those technologies on consumer purchasing decisions. And a final report from the producer-led task force will be presented. That task force has been reviewing the relationship between the national and state pork organizations.
Friday topics will cover a proposal to require PQA Plus certification for any producer serving on a Pork Checkoff committee. A report on European Union pork production issues and the impact those issues might have on U.S. production will be presented and a discussion will be held on the results from the recently completed annual survey of producer attitudes on a variety of topics.