DES MOINES, Iowa – For decades, the U.S. pork industry has recognized the importance of advancing responsible production practices to keep pace with the changing marketplace. During 2018, a We Care task force, comprised of leaders from across the industry, was formed to provide guidance to the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) boards of directors on advancing the industry’s decade-long commitment to the We Care ethical principles as the sustainability platform for U.S. pig production.
The task force sought to leverage producer efforts around the established ethical principles to grow demand, increase consumer trust and confidence and minimize risk through strengthening industry commitment to We Care. This allows pig farmers to meet customer and consumer expectations for transparency and proof of responsible pork production at the local, state, national and international levels. The Pork Board and NPPC boards approved the recommendation at meetings in November and December, respectively.
“Our commitment to the six We Care ethical principles of food safety, animal well-being, the environment, public health, our people and our communities is stronger than it has ever been,” said Gene Noem, a Pork Board member and co-chair of the We Care task force. “It remains our promise to our stakeholders and pork consumers that we engage in and actively promote ethical and responsible practices from farm to fork.”
“Our We Care promise allows our industry to build on the culture of continuous improvement and provides proof points that demonstrate our commitment to providing the safest, highest quality pork products in the world,” said Jen Sorenson, NPPC Board member and co-chair of the We Care task force.
To demonstrate its increased commitment, the Pork Board recently signed a memorandum of understanding with United Soybean Board and the National Corn Growers Association. The three organizations will cooperate to conduct research directly related to environmental sustainability indicators of carbon (greenhouse gases), water use, land use, water quality and soil health.
Next week, the Pork Board will release a study that validates the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement and its focus on sustainability. The study is a comprehensive life-cycle assessment that analyzes the entire supply chain through a first-of-its-kind methodology.
“It’s important for us to communicate our principles, practices and proof in a way that is clear and relevant to those outside of the pork industry,” said Dr. Brett Kaysen, the Pork Checkoff’s assistant vice president of sustainability. “As we enter a new year, we remain committed to We Care now more than ever and will continue to validate our continuous improvement story with the proof that increases public trust.”
# # #
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at pork.org.