DES MOINES– The pork industry held its annual business meeting, the National Pork Industry Forum, March 3-5 in Indianapolis. At the meeting, Pork Act Delegates ranked eight candidates for the National Pork Board and submitted the list to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The candidates, ranked in order, are:
- Jan Archer, North Carolina
- Terry O’Neel, Nebraska
- Alicia Pedemonti, New Hampshire
- Gene Noem, Iowa
- Mike Skahill, North Carolina
- Heather Hill, Indiana
- Scott Phillips, Missouri
- Brent Scholl, Illinois
The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will select five members from the slate elected by the delegates to fill the roles of outgoing board members effective July 2016. The nominees will serve three-year terms. There are 15 pork producers on the board, each limited in serving no more than two terms.
Delegates also elected three members to the nominating committee, which recruits and screens candidates for the National Pork Board. Members of the nominating committee are not approved by the secretary. In other business, delegates approved six advisements for the National Pork Board. The approved motions read:
- Food Chain Engagement: The National Pork Board is encouraged to continue to aggressively defend the choice of farmers to employ husbandry practices approved by the Swine Care Handbook and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Further, the National Pork Board should continue development and implementation of strategies to engage with food companies. The delegates also ask the National Pork Board to make available all necessary resources to support this effort.
- USDA Support of National Pork Board Decisions: Whereas the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) has filed a federal lawsuit against USDA contesting contractual agreements between the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council; and, whereas the outcome sought by HSUS would damage the ability of the National Pork Board to exercise its judgment in marketing free from judicial and third-party review; therefore, be it resolved that the delegates of the National Pork Board, appointed by the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture, petition him to mount a strong and vigorous defense of the department’s past approval of National Pork Board contracts, employing all possible legal tactics to preserve the authority and independence of the National Pork Board to negotiate and enter into contracts related to its statutory responsibilities under the Pork Act and Order.
- Soil and Nutrient Stabilization: As the federal government seeks to address nutrient management, we urge the National Pork Board to provide all available information on research and technology for pork producers that facilitates a flexible approach to nutrient management requirements. These should include, but not be limited to: research, testing and development of new technology, implements or products, which are predictable, practical, sustainable and economical.
- Antibiotics: In an effort to strengthen industry-wide stewardship of antibiotics and in acknowledgment that antibiotic resistance is an important concern in both human and animal medicine that all must work to address, the National Pork Board shall work with producers to encourage all pig farms to embrace best practices and the stewardship of antibiotics to protect the health and welfare of pigs and to produce safe food.
- The National Pork Board shall encourage producers to ensure decisions regarding on-farm antibiotic usage are made under the guidance of a veterinarian and in the context of a veterinary-client-patient relationship as required with the PQA Plus assessment.
- Further, the National Pork Board shall work to defend pig farmers’ choices to employ antibiotics, as needed, to ensure pig health and well-being under the direction of Food and Drug Administration Guidance 209 and 213.
- Finally, the National Pork Board shall continue the development and implementation of strategies to communicate the importance of antibiotics in producing healthy affordable food while protecting human health. The communication audience should include consumers, food influencers, health professionals and food companies. Adequate resources should be made available to execute on these strategies.
- Antibiotic Research: The National Pork Board is encouraged to work with the National Pork Producers Council and the federal government and its research agencies, including those focused on human health, to develop a research plan to address the complex issue of the role of antibiotics and other animal health products in meat production.
- Pork Quality Assurance Plus®: The National Pork Board is encouraged to develop an online course/exam for new PQA Plus certifications.
Reports on the advisements will be delivered at the 2017 Pork Forum.