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July 08, 2004   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
July 08, 2004

Marshall County pork producer John Gibson is among 21 farmers selected to participate in the Pork Leadership Academy which identifies and trains future leaders of the pork industry.
Twenty-one U.S. pork producers, including an Alabama farmer, have been selected for the Pork Leadership Academy, a program sponsored by the Pork Checkoff to identify and train industry leaders.

John Gibson of Union Grove, Ala., in Marshall County will be among the producers who will attend five Pork Leadership Academy meetings during their year in the program. Each meeting will focus on a different issue that includes a checkoff program update. At the first meeting during World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, in June, participants reviewed programs that included promotion and research initiatives.

"The Pork Leadership Academy program helps develop leaders who will work with both consumers and other producers," said Gibson, who also serves on the Alabama Farmers Federation's State Pork Committee. Gibson has a value-added operation where he sells sausage, barbecue and other pork products from animals raised on his farm.

The Pork Leadership Academy participants are selected by their individual states and represent different production styles. The checkoff provides initial training, as well as long-term support, for producers in preparing presentations and interviews. The Pork Leadership Academy will focus on training producers as spokespeople who can relate the accomplishments of the pork industry to the public and who can communicate with producers one-on-one about issues facing the pork industry.

"It is important to the pork industry that consumers recognize our product as being a high quality source of protein in their diet," Gibson said. "The National Pork Board has educational programs for producers in place that will help to ensure that we will keep the product safe and nutritious. Programs such as the Pork Leadership Academy are vital to communicating that message to consumers."

National Pork Board has responsibility for checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest 40-cent for each $100 value of hogs sold. Pork importers also invest a comparable amount. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health and pork safety. For information on checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 1-800-456-PORK or check the Internet at www.porkboard.org.

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