DES MOINES – During the week of Nov. 15, the National Pork Board will be asked to streamline the organization's producer-led committee structure. The board meets Tuesday through Thursday in Des Moines.

NPB has 11 pork producer-led committees that it relies on for guidance on issues ranging from product marketing to the environment to animal health and food safety. On Wednesday, the board will receive a report from a task force it appointed last spring to study the committee structure. The task force recommends the board trim the number of committees to eight by combining two committees that focus on producer services, education and communications and two others that focus on nutrition and pork safety.

It also is recommending a committee focused on niche marketing become a subcommittee of the merged producer group and that the board assure that producers who specialize in providing products for niche markets be included on all board committees.

"Creating a task force to study our committee process was one of the recommendations in our new five-year strategic plan," said Gene Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, Ark., and NPB president. "The task force recognized the importance of the work that producer-led committees do. They provide valuable expertise in areas the board, as a whole, might not possess. But the task force also found that there was some overlap between committees, prompting its recommendations on reorganization. The task force offered a number of other suggestions to improve the committee process, one of which calls for more direct involvement in the committee process by board members.

"The goal is to assure we have a committee structure that is more efficient and more focused on achieving the goals outlined in the five-year strategic plan the board approved last spring," he added.

If the task force’s report is accepted, the committees advising the board will focus on: domestic marketing; producer education and services; environment; animal well-being; animal science; swine health; trade; and pork safety and nutrition.

Two other task forces appointed at the same time by the board have not concluded their work. Board members will meet on Tuesday afternoon with the task force studying how NPB might better serve the needs of state pork organizations. It also will receive a progress report from the task force focusing on NPB research objectives."

Approval of the 2011 program budget presented to the board in September by the Plan of Work Task Force, a group of 50 diverse producers who make specific budget recommendations to the board based on the board's goals outlined in the strategic plan, is also on next week’s agenda. The new budget calls for spending approximately $46 million of Pork Checkoff revenue to create, among other things, new excitement for pork in the consumer marketplace and to help consumers better understand and appreciate modern agriculture.

Once approved, the 2011 budget will be submitted to the US secretary of agriculture for final approval.