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Illinois Pork Producers: Premise ID a good step
Illinois Correspondent

PEORIA, Ill. — The Illinois Pork Producers Assoc. (IPPA) had its annual meeting Jan. 30, a kickoff to the organization’s 2006 Illinois Pork Expo at the Peoria Civic Center.

Approximately 90 producer-delegates, representing districts across the state, discussed and approved policy resolutions related to pork production, which will be discussed at the National Pork Forum, March 2-4 in Kansas City.

Reports were given by representatives from the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board, among others. Budget and audit reports were discussed prior to the review and approval of resolutions and bylaw amendments.

“The annual meeting is the producers’ opportunity to give direction and guidance to their organization,” said outgoing IPPA leader Darrell Stitzel, who handed the presidential gavel to Osco pork producer Gary Asay during the organization’s banquet Feb. 1. “Continued involvement and support of pork producers is vital to the future success of the pork industry and IPPA.”

Among the seven resolutions adopted by the IPPA, Asay cited awareness of the Premise ID program as among the most crucial to pork producers.

“Premise ID is very important to help preserve the safety of pork and its health aspects,” said Asay, who finishes 7,000 hogs at his farm each year with his wife and father. “It’s crucial for fast trace back in case something should happen.”

The IPPA’s resolution concerning Premise ID calls for recognizing “the critical nature of the National Animal ID program and to provide (producers) with information and tools to register for the Premise ID program, make preparations to implement enhancements to their reporting and recording systems to protect them against foreign animal disease outbreaks, and to engage USDA in ensuring that the system is species-specific … and that the cost of database monitoring be provided through public funding.”

Another resolution Asay pointed to as crucial to producers is the IPPA’s call for reauthorization of mandatory price reporting with enhancements, including mandatory price reporting of pork carcass cutouts and their components to increase transparency and more accurately reflect the pricing of the entire product.

“Refinements have been made every time it comes up,” Asay said. “It’s very important for producers to know what the true market is out there. It’s very hard to figure out where the true cash market is at times.”

A resolution gaining momentum with many pork producers compels the organization to continue its efforts through the legislative process to seek protection for producers from intentional acts of tampering with manure equipment.

“There is fear that some groups who might be against a hog operation coming in and tampering with equipment to intentionally cause a spill. This could result in an environmental hazard with a lot of liability for the producer who had the spill even though it wasn’t their (fault). We’re trying to protect the producers and create some penalties for people who do that,” Asay said, adding that he wasn’t aware of any specific laws addressing tampering with such equipment.

Another IPPA resolution called for continuing to strive to offer the latest, most pertinent information on pork production and policy to producers.

“We’re trying to update everyone’s e-mail addresses for the quickest and most efficient way to reach them,” said Asay. “We also hold educational seminars and we have the monthly Chop Talk newsletter that goes out to members. We’re trying to reach out in any way we can to communicate better with producers.”

Asay served as the IPPA’s president-elect in 2005, and was the organization’s secretary in 2004.

In addition, he served on state boards through the IPPA. Asay said his plan to guide the IPPA in 2006 is based in part on encouraging good environmental stewardship and intelligent business decisions by producers.

“I’ll be trying to continue working to make the hog industry in Illinois more viable and growing,” said Asay of his goals as IPPA chief. “In order to do that, we need to work to promote not only the industry, but also individual members. The members need to work at it themselves by being good neighbors, good farmers and stewards, by being good businessmen. When you put it all together, it’s an effort to make this industry grow.”

Along with Asay, new officers were elected to the IPPA’s board during the meeting. In addition, the 2006 IPPA Awards winners were announced, including Illinois Pork Producer Family of the Year, the Jim Scheetz family of Niota.

A Pork Expo highlight was an appearance by seven-time ARCA series champion and race driver Frank Kimmel of the National Pork Producers Assoc.-sponsored Taurus race car.

Kimmel posed for photos near a simulated version of his car while signing hats and photos for race fans. He also took on all challengers in a radio-controlled miniature auto race.

For details on the IPPA’s resolutions, call Tim Maiers of the IPPA at 217-529-3100.

This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.