America’s pork producers have voted to end the mandatory pork check-off which charged 45-cents on every 100-dollars of pork farmers sold. Fifty-three percent of the farmers who cast ballots in the referendum voted to end the check-off. Forty-seven percent voted to keep it. Hugh Espy of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is celebrating, calling it a step for independent hog farmers in regaining control of their industry. He says the check-off promoted overproduction and the expansion of corporate hog producers. Supporters of the check-off say it financed a massive public relations campaign that increased Americans’ consumption of pork. Espy rejects that argument. He says it’s not an issue about consumption, it’s an issue about consumption. Espy says farmers aren’t making a profit, even with increased production. The Iowa woman who will become president of the National Pork Producers Council in March says she’s very concerned over the decision to end the pork checkoff. Barb Campbell Determan, of Early, says the 53-to-47-percent vote is a big disappointment, and may bring an investigation. There are a number of irregularities and major flaws in the vote. Pork producers nationwide voted to eliminate the pork checkoff, which took 45 cents from every hundred dollars of pork they sold. Determan says the N-P-P-C will survive without the checkoff and will continue its mission.Determan says the checkoff helped to promote pork in three areas — public relations campaigns to the general public, research and producer education. She says the performance of the N-P-P-C is proof enough that their efforts have paid off. There’ve been eight consecutive years of increased demand for pork.
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