For the fifth consecutive year, pork producer support for the pork checkoff has increased, now situated at 89%, according to a survey conducted in November 2014 and released Friday.
Checkoff support is up 2% from last year's results. Meanwhile, opposition to the checkoff declined 1% to a low of 5%. These results are the most positive in survey history, the checkoff said.
Just over 80% of survey respondents feel the industry is heading "in the right direction," growing from a 2013 score of 75%, while 9% feel the industry is "on the wrong track," dropping from a 2013 score of 13%.
Support for the checkoff and general optimism of the industry is strongest among larger producers, or those that marketed more than 20,000 pigs in the past year.
The biggest overall challenge facing producers, the survey found, is managing hog health and disease; The single most important thing the checkoff can do to help their operation is to educate consumers about the safety of pork.
"Educating consumers about the safety of pork is a shift from previous years' results when top-of-mind desires were focused first and foremost on advertising and marketing pork," said Dale Norton, president of the pork checkoff and a producer from Bronson, Mich. "This change stems from the increasing conversations that people are having about food production."
That sentiment was also evident in embarking on the National Pork Board's recent five-year strategic planning process.
On a 10-point scale, the producer survey showed:
• Build Consumer Trust rated a mean score of 8.85 - the highest result and growing to 9.05 among large producers.
• Grow Consumer Demand rated a mean score of 8.39.
• Drive sustainable production rated a mean score of 7.86.
"This tells the Board that the development of our strategic plan is in synch with the concerns, interests and thoughts of producers," Norton said.
The survey is based on phone interviews with 550 producers.
Source: Pork Checkoff