The Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Order is authorized by the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985 [7 U.S.C. 4801-4819]. The Act was passed as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The program became effective on September 5, 1986, and assessments began November 1, 1986.
As required by the Act, USDA conducted a referendum among all port producers and importers after the program had been in effect for 24 months. Of the 44,953 valid ballots cast in the September 7-8, 1988 referendum, 77.5 percent of port producers and importers voting favored the program. A petition drive to terminate the program was initiated on April 29, 1998. As a result of the petition drive, 19,043 signatures were submitted to USDA on May 24, 1999, 14,986 valid signatures were required. On February 25, 2000, the Secretary directed AMS to hold a referendum. The referendum showed 15,951 (53 percent) of the votes favoring termination of the program. The Secretary directed AMS to terminate the program. The U.S. District Court for Western Michigan granted the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) a temporary restraining order prohibiting USDA from terminating the pork program. On February 29, 2001, USDA and NPPC reached a settlement agreement that will allow the pork program to continue with substantial changes and a commitment to a binding referendum process no earlier than June 2003.
The goal of the program is to strengthen the position of pork in the marketplace and to develop and expand markets for pork and pork products. It is funded by a mandatory assessment of $0.40 of $100 market value of all pigs sold in the United States, as well as an equivalent amount on imported pigs, pork, and pork products. Assessments in 2012 totaled approximately $83.4 million with $16.5 million returned to State Pork Producers Association (SPPA). Total import assessments in 2011 totaled approximately $3.2 million. Assessments are used to fund promotional and information campaigns and to conduct research in such areas as the role of pork in human diets and new product development.
The Order is administered by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body, which has approximately 160 members with a minimum of 2 producers authorized from each of the 43 States and importers. The Secretary appoints Delegate Body members from pork producers who have been nominated through special elections or other USDA-approved selection processes in each State. Importers are selected from individuals nominated by eligible organizations.
The Delegate Body recommends the rate of assessment, determines the percentage of assessment collected which will be returned to State associations, and nominates pig producers and importers for appointment by the Secretary to the 15-member National Pork Board. The Board’s office is located in Des Moines, Iowa.
Production, Exports, and Imports
In December 2012, the United States hogs and pigs inventory totaled 67.5 million head, an increase of 2 percent compared to 2011. Iowa inventories were the largest at 20 million head, followed by North Carolina at 8.9 million head.
In 2012, U.S. pork exports totaled approximately $6.3 billion.
In 2012, U.S. imports of pork were $3.1 million.
Economic evaluations of the program have been conducted periodically since its inception by Texas A&M, RTI International and North Carolina State. In 2012, Dr. Harry Kaiser, Cornell University, conducted an economic analysis of the Pork Checkoff program for the years 2006-2010. This analysis reported an estimated rate-of-return of $17.40 for every checkoff dollar invested during that period. A similar market analysis conducted for the years 1999-2005 estimated a rate-of-return of $15.49 for every checkoff dollar invested.