The National Pork Board has announced a stewardship plan to guide and support the responsible use of antibiotics for the US pork industry. The newly defined position statement and governing policy was approved at the board’s June meeting and announced through a news conference at World Pork Expo.
Following unanimous approval, the Pork Board updated its position and policy statement that “embraces responsible antibiotic use in pork production” and pledges to “emphasise these values in its revised Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) producer certification and training programs” in the year ahead. Additionally, the National Pork Board intends to allocate up to $1.4 million in funding of scientific research and antibiotic risk assessment studies, producer education and consumer awareness programs.
“We understand the critically important role antibiotics play in both human medicine and in livestock production and know that consumers are keenly interested in how their food is produced,” said Chris Hodges, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. “This stewardship plan will shape our industry’s approach to antibiotics, finding ways for our pig farmers to improve animal health with and without antibiotics.”
In other action, Derrick Sleezer, a pork producer from Cherokee, Iowa, was elected as president of the National Pork Board. Sleezer is serving his second three-year term on the National Pork Board and just concluded two years as the board’s treasurer.
“First and foremost, I am proud to be an American pig farmer and to serve my industry in leading the Pork Checkoff in the year ahead,” Sleezer said. “There is great consumer interest in agriculture and in understanding how food is grown, raised and marketed. I see much opportunity in the year ahead as we help shape that story.”
Serving with Sleezer as vice president is Jan Archer, a pork producer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. Terry O’Neel, a producer from Friend, Nebraska, was elected treasurer. The three executive officers will serve one-year terms in their positions beginning June 3. Outgoing president Dale Norton, a producer from Bronson, Michigan, will serve in a non-voting role as immediate past president.
“As we look ahead to the next five years, the Pork Checkoff is prepared to meet the challenges facing our industry,” Sleezer said. “Guided by the strategic plan, we have a sharp focus on building consumer trust, driving sustainable production and growing consumer demand for US pork.”