There is a lot of talk about pork with the Midwest Pork Conference convening in Indiana at the Hendricks County Conference Complex Tuesday. And recently the National Pork Board released their new strategic plan which includes a vision to “elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice by continuously and collaboratively working to do what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.” The president of the Pork Checkoff is Michigan farmer Dale Norton from Bronson. He told HAT the new plan focuses more on customers.
“The previous plan was maybe a little more production oriented. Customers, consumers want to know more about how we raise pigs, so part of our scheme is to do a better job of telling our story. We work with US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance as well and the story telling part they’re really good at. We have a good social media program.”
The consumer is included in the people portion of the 3 P’s. But the new plan also focuses on communicating pork producers’ care for the other 2 P’s, planet and pigs.
“The pig part of the 3 P’s, we like to be able to tell the caretaking ability that we have, to show how careful we are in our production practices. The third part is the planet part and environmentally the strides we’ve made from a sustainability standpoint with our land, our water, our carbon use. It’s I think a good story to tell.”
Norton says now is a good time for the pork industry to make further strides toward getting more pork on customer plates.
“With the price of beef being as high as it is and pork being so versatile, I think demand for pork is really up there and it’s the global meat of choice really. It’s the most eaten protein in the world, not quite as much in the U.S. But we do have to be a little concerned about price. We don’t want to price ourselves so high that the consumer doesn’t think that they can use it, but it is a very versatile product.”
Norton farms just a half hour from Angola, Indiana. His operation includes 1,500 sows, some beef cows and 3,500 acres of corn and soybeans.