1. What is the Pork Checkoff?
Required by the 1985 Pork Act, all U.S. pork producers contribute to the Pork Checkoff. The current pork checkoff rate is 40 cents per $100 in value; when a market hog, feeder pig, or seedstock animal is marketed, the checkoff amount is collected and distributed to the National Pork Board. Some of the funds remain with the National Pork Board for national programs while another portion is provided to the respective pork organization representing the state in which the pigs were sold. In Wisconsin, it is the Wisconsin Pork Association who represents the state’s pork industry and puts farmers’ checkoff dollars to work. In 2016, Wisconsin Pork Association received just over $98,000 from checkoff collections.
2. Pork Checkoff funds are restricted for use on promotion, research and education programs.
Promotion: Pork Checkoff dollars are used to promote pork to U.S. consumers and to customers around the globe. The National Pork Board, Wisconsin Pork Association and other state pork associations work together with food-chain partners to help fuel pork demand by focusing on pork’s improved nutrition (seven cuts of pork are on average 16 percent leaner than 20 years ago), quality, and sustainability—all things that are important to today’s consumers. Wisconsin Pork Association helps promote pork at conferences and consumer events and partners with grocery stores on promotions that help increase pork sales.
Research: Pork Checkoff funds support a wide variety of research topics from production methods to environmental solutions. At the state level, Wisconsin Pork Association works with the University of Wisconsin schools and UW-Extension to support in-state research and make research results available in both academic and on-farm settings.
Education: At the farm level, Pork Checkoff dollars are used to share information about the latest trends and best practices in swine science, Pork Quality Assurance® Plus and Transport Quality Assurance® certification and education offerings. Multiple youth education programs are also funded with Pork Checkoff dollars, including Wisconsin Pork Association’s mentorship program, scholarships and support of 4-H and FFA programs and awards.
Consumer education is equally important, especially with an increasing number of consumers becoming further removed from the farm. Your Pork Checkoff dollars are used at the state level for programs such as virtual field trips and farm tours that help expose youth and adults to farming and get their questions answered directly from the source—farmers. Wisconsin Pork Association also educates consumers about how to properly cook pork and how to include pork as part of a healthy diet.
3. Checkoff funds cannot be used towards legislative activities.
As mentioned above, pork checkoff funds can only be used for promotion, research, and education activities. Although many state pork associations, including Wisconsin Pork Association, do advocate on behalf of producers and the industry on legislative issues, it is an entirely separate pool of money going towards those efforts. In Wisconsin, funds for public policy and advocacy activities are raised through association membership dues, fundraisers, sponsorships and voluntary contributions from pig farmers through the National Pork Producers Council’s Strategic Investment Program.
4. Pork Checkoff programs benefit all pig farmers.
Wisconsin Pork Association and the National Pork Board are producer-led organizations serving all pork producers. Regardless of size or type of pig farm, Pork Checkoff programs are working for you. From providing education on the most up to date production practices available to implement on your farm to educating Wisconsin consumers on how to properly prepare pork, Pork Checkoff dollars are used responsibly to help ensure continued success for all U.S. pig farmers and the pork industry as a whole.
5. Your Input Matters
Pork producers are encouraged to participate on the boards and committees that provide leadership and guidance to Wisconsin Pork Association and the National Pork Board. Both Wisconsin Pork Association and the National Pork Board also have annual meetings where producers can provide input on checkoff programs and how checkoff dollars are spent. Further, pig farmers can also reach out at any time to Wisconsin Pork Association by calling 1-800-822-7675 or the National Pork Board at 1-800-456-7675.
Wisconsin Pork Association
Wisconsin Pork Association is the source for representing the state’s pork industry. The membership, which is committed to the success of the pork industry, provides the leadership for focusing on the identification and enhancement of opportunities while resolving industry issues. To learn more, visit the Wisconsin Pork Association website.