On Sunday, May 17 I flew from Minneapolis to Kansas City wearing a PQA+ and Pork Checkoff polo shirt. At both airports I had an individual come up to me and comment that they ate pork and considered it to be a good buy. I’ve traveled all over the US and foreign lands, sometimes wearing pork producer association shirts, wearing Nebraska Pork Expo shirts, etc. However, this is the first time I’ve ever had any one, much less 2 separate people in different airports, approach me with favorable comments on our product.
This experience suggests that the Pork Board’s and NPPC’s massive education efforts in the face of the ‘swine flu’ challenge has had a positive impact. I know there are many who feel that these organizations should have reacted even faster than they did. I’m not going to comment on the timing of the response or this concern expressed by some.
I do think that when these producer directed groups mobilized as a single voice, their message was very effective. We know the politicians in Washington and the health policy gurus at CDC in Atlanta got the message, because we heard many of them repeating the message of pork safety and it’s lack of connection to the H1N1 virus.
Whether you believe in the checkoff or not (apparently most of you do since the recent referendum had so few votes asking for a yes/no vote on the status of the checkoff) or in the SIP voluntary checkoff, the experience from their efforts in response to the swine flu mis-information deserves a big thank you. Without active, producer directed leadership, we as independent producers or as producers in large production systems would never have been able to mount such a massive and targeted campaign in such a short time frame.
Yes, there was a very significant financial impact from the mis-information. Just imagine how great the disaster would have been if we hadn’t pulled together under the umbrella of these organizations!