National Pork Board CEO Bill Even Shares His Vision for the Pork Checkoff's New Strategic PlanMon, 05 Aug 2019 12:55:21 CDT
Chief Executive Officer of the National Pork Board Bill Even sat down this past week with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn during the 2019 Oklahoma Pork Congress to talk about a variety of projects currently being undertaken by the NPB and National Pork Checkoff. Among the many initiatives that the NPB has taken on is one primary goal of modernizing the way in which the board operates. Even explained the process the NPB is currently in to shift from its traditional structure to one that will make the organization more nimble and able to address industry issues at the speed of commerce. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Even, the NPB’s 15-member board of directors convened about a year ago and resolved that it had to take a hard look at where the industry is today and it needed to do differently to better address pressing issues. The board’s introspection was prompted by a call from the pork industry, Even said, urging the board to refocus its efforts to address the concerns most important to them. He says those priorities are still being developed but can be essentially grouped into two categories: what is the board doing to shape the future of the industry; and what is it doing to protect stakeholders today from those things that threaten the freedom to operate or the health of the US swine heard.
“We heard loud and clear from over 1,000 people in the US pork industry that ‘we need you to focus on these items,” Even said. “So, the board of directors said ‘let’s start with a blank piece of paper and if we were going to reinvent the Pork Checkoff, what would we do and what would that look like?’ And so, the board has taken some pretty bold steps to move to an agile organization format.”
Thus far into the process of pivoting, Even says one objective has taken precedence. Rather than adhering to an inflexible five-year strategic plan, the board will begin implementing a “rolling plan” that is updated and evaluated annually. The NPB’s structure is also being revamped in way that will utilize task forces to concentrate on specific projects through to completion before moving on to the next project. Most importantly, though, Even says the board will redouble its effort to be consumer-focused.
“We only produce one thing in the pork industry and that’s pork. So, we have to be connected to the consumer side of things. The board has sat down and said we’re going to remain producer-led, but will ensure that it is totally consumer-focused from farm to fork.”
By doing this, Even says the NPB will be better equipped with a broader perspective to help issue sense and scout out where consumers are headed. The last strategic plan developed by NPB was done in 2014. Even contends that the world looks much differently than it did then and argues that this underscores the importance of this undertaking to modernize.
“The board wants to make sure we’re able to roll with the punches,” he remarked, “while still keeping an eye on the future we need to shape.”
But, that is not to say the NPB’s efforts up until now have been fruitless. Quite the contrary. Currently, domestic pork consumption is at a 16-year high with per capita consumption up to 50 lbs. a person. Pork remains the No. 1 global protein of choice and the US, despite its trade challenges of late, is exporting 27% of its total pork production, adding on average about $50 per head in value back to the producer.
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