In Hard Times, Agriculture Adapts

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

Agriculture is a model of resiliency. Whether it’s weather, fuel shortages, disease or other challenges, farmers and ranchers know how to adapt. 

“We may get knocked on our heels, but we know how to solve problems and we’re good at improvising, adapting and overcoming,” says Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. “We are not waiting around for someone to tell us what to do or ride to our rescue.”

Even says pork producers can be confident that the Pork Checkoff is 110% committed to be a resource for producers during this time of disruption. He says there are three main questions he continues to be asked during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

1.    What are best practices and plans to keep employees safe and healthy so they can care for pigs?
The Pork Checkoff has created a curated page on the pork.org website that addresses these best practices and shares links to important resources and organizations all in one location. A presentation by Heather Fowler, DVM and public health veterinarian at the Pork Checkoff, is available on this site as well as links to Find Your State Department of Public Health, OSHA Guidance for Workplaces and CDC Recommendations to Prevent Illness.

2.    What is the Pork Checkoff doing to deliver these messages to pork producers?
In addition to featuring information on pork.org, the Pork Checkoff has hosted three national webinars to help get information into the hands of pork producers.

“Ultimately there’s no shortage of stuff on social media and TV, but we want to drive producers to sources they can trust,” Even explains.

The resources on pork.org have been vetted by the National Pork Board and made available in an effort to connect the pork industry with the best information on the current situation, emergency planning tools, recommended control measures and talking points. 

3.    How do we keep the entire food system working? 
Even says it’s clear that USDA and the federal government are stepping up to fill the gaps and ensure that producers are aware of what information is coming out of this congressional action.

“We have some really good assurances from the White House and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue that agriculture and the food system are critical infrastructure that needs to keep operating,” Even says. “Like power, medical, water, everyone wants to make sure our food system keeps working and doesn’t miss a beat.”

The Pork Checkoff team is in close contact with 40 different state pork associations who are on the front lines of dealing with the COVID-19 issue. From responding to producers’ questions to amplifying key messages, Even says it’s an important time to work together. 

“We need your help,” Even says. “Please reshare our content and messages. Anything we can do to share information will make a difference – it’s there to help our fellow Americans whether they are pork producers or consumers.”


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