More and more, pork producers are being second-guessed by non-farmers about production practices. Whether it is environmental issues, animal welfare issues, food safety issues or just being a good neighbor, there is a growing gap between producers and the communities they live and work in.
Many producers, frustrated by this reality, are seeking a silver bullet to fix all the problems and make them all go away. That won’t happen. While the state and national organizations continue to work on behalf of producers, it is up to farmers to help solve the perception issues that persist. There may not be any one 100% solution, but there are certainly one hundred 1% solutions that can help turn the tide.
You don’t have to be a professional presenter or a lobbyist to make a difference. We encourage every pork producer to pick a handful of ideas from this list and implement them this year. If everyone does their part, we can turn the tide and regain public acceptance and embracing of pork production in Nebraska.
While traditional advertising often offers a broad message to reach consumers, the Pork Checkoff’s early 2010 “eat lean for less” advertisements are targeting consumers who are actively seeking lean protein choices and affordable dinner solutions.
“While we typically begin our national advertising campaign in April, this year we have placed a limited schedule through March in four magazines, on two Web sites and one search engine,” says Laurie Bever, director of consumer advertising for the Pork Checkoff. “We were able to jumpstart the schedule this year due to some media efficiencies we achieved in 2009, and we’re targeting media outlets where we’ve achieved good results before.”
An ad touting pork’s lean qualities and great value is running in Cooking Light, Fitness, Everyday with Rachael Ray and Weight Watchers magazines. Pork received extra coverage in Weight Watchers magazine, which boasts a circulation of 1.3 million. The January/February 2010 issue included three pork recipes with “points values” assigned to help readers eat the foods they like and still lose weight.
“The editorial coverage shows that pork is getting magazine editors’ attention,” says Bever, who notes that Weight Watchers developed the recipes for broiled ham steak, pork shoulder stew and slow-cooked pork tenderloin. “They view pork as a good fit for their readers’ interests.”
In addition, the Checkoff’s “Pork & Parmesan” ad is featured in the Pork/Ham section of the Weight Watchers Complete Food Companion, a 500+ page book identifying point values and nutrition information for hundreds of foods.
During the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) Bus Tour 2009, A-FAN visited Terry O’Neel, a hog farmer from Friend, Neb. about animal care in pork production. O’Neel explains why sows are housed individually – and how that individual care benefits the animals, helps maintain herd health and ultimately provides quality pork.