The National Pork Board uses Pork Checkoff funds to provide operational value to pork producers, crop farmers and other stakeholders through educational materials and other resources, which includes the USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report Analysis webinar series.

On Sept. 29, NPB welcomed the following experts:

  • Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University
  • Altin Kalo, economist from Steiner Consulting Group
  • Joyce Hoppes, consumer information director with the Iowa Pork Producers Association

#Meat: Volume and Sentiment of Online Meat Conversations

Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, led attendees through Purdue’s dashboard tracking volume and sentiment of animal and plant-based protein mentions in social media and traditional news outlets.    

The dashboard, updated weekly, uses primary search terms for each commodity, and excludes terms, idioms and sites not related to pigs, pig farming or pork.  

The dashboard’s color-coded sentiment gradient ranges from dark green for 100% positive to dark red for 100% negative. Lusk explained how these dashboards inform decisions in business or marketing. 

USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report Analysis

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report on September 29 which was bullish. The report provides metrics of the U.S. inventory of hogs and pigs as of September 1.

  • All hogs and pigs inventory was 73.8 million head – down 1% from last year, but up 2% from June 1.  
  • Breeding inventory was 6.15 million head – down 1% from last year and down slightly from June 1.    
  • Market hog inventory was 67.6 million head – down 1% from last year and up 2% from last quarter.   
  • June-August 2022 pig crop was at 33.6 million head – down 1% from last year.  
  • Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.02 million head – down 1% from last year. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. 

Altin Kalo, chief economist with Steiner Consulting Group, explained the specifics of the Hogs and Pigs report, how it is developed and what key factors USDA considers when estimating demand and availability.

Building the Case for Ground Pork

A Checkoff-funded project designed to create value for ground pork in grocery stores positioned pork as an everyday item to be used as an ingredient in recipes.

Joyce Hoppes with the Iowa Pork Producers Association explained the initial test-and-learn, which was a collaboration between NPB and eight state pork associations and celebrated the 19%1 sales growth for the test stores.

The goals of the project:

  • Increase consistent distribution of ground pork
  • Place ground pork where consumers expect to find it — next to other ground meat2
  • Provide choice by adding different fat/lean levels, like beef3

Hoppes emphasized the data from the test-and-learn and the research NPB developed reduces risk for retailers.

Build Trust and Increase Demand with On-farm Reporting

Building trust with consumers, and being focused on their online conversations and perceptions, helps protect freedom to operate and contributes to the long-term economic viability of the pork industry.  

Bill Even, CEO of NPB, closed the webinar by asking producers to request a Checkoff-funded, confidential on-farm sustainability report. He shared how consumers and supply chain customers are asking about on-farm commitments and certifications like Pork Quality Assurance® Plus, Transport Quality Assurance® and the Common Swine Industry Audit.  

The next step is proof.  

On-farm reports help measure and document producers’ continuous improvement efforts. National aggregate data from the reports can be shared with customers, community members and key decision-makers to demonstrate U.S. pork producers’ commitment to sustainability. 

1. IRI Control Store Test
2. NPB Custom Survey & Prediction Market Study In Field Dec 30th, 2020 – Jan 4th, 2021
3. IRI Pork Category Landscape Study, Checkoff-funded Proprietary Data