EP. 15-Going Whole Hog to Serve Our Pork Customer: A Conversation With National Pork Board CEO Bill Even

February 3, 2021

EP. 15-Going Whole Hog to Serve Our Pork Customer: A Conversation With National Pork Board CEO Bill Even

Feb 3, 2021

Key Issues:Animal Agriculture

The U.S. pork herd consumed over 1.2 billion bushels of corn in 2020. Not only does that make the pork industry a key customer segment for NCGA’s growers, but many of the same trade and sustainability issues that we grapple with in corn impact them as well.

 

So in this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett chats with Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board, to review some of the cooperative efforts the two groups have underway, the challenges they face and the opportunities that await if they work together.

 

They also recount some of their favorite mouthwatering pork dishes. Spoiler alert: bacon is involved.  

 

 

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Transcript

 

Bill Even:

We've got producers out there that are paying the corn checkoff, they're paying the soybean checkoff, and they're paying the pork checkoff, and what they're expecting out of their respective boards and their respective staffs of these organizations is that they work together and share those checkoff dollars around and don't duplicate things and be inefficient. That's no different than how you run your own farm operations.

 

Dusty Weis:

Hello, and welcome to Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast. This is where leaders, growers, and stakeholders in the corn industry can turn for big picture conversations about the state of the industry and its future. I'm Dusty Weis, and I'll be introducing your host, association CEO Jon Doggett. You can join Jon every month as he travels the country on a mission to advocate for America's corn farmers. From the fields of the Corn Belt to the DC Beltway, we'll make sure that the growers who feed America have a say in the issues that are important to them with key leaders who are shaping the future of agriculture.

 

Dusty Weis:

The U.S. pork herd consumes 900 million bushels of corn a year. Not only does that make the pork industry, a key customer segment for our growers, but many of the same trade and sustainability issues that we grapple with in corn impact them as well. And so in this episode, we welcome Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board, to review some of the cooperative efforts we have underway, as well as some of our favorite mouthwatering pork dishes. Spoiler alert: bacon is involved. If you haven't yet, make sure that you're subscribed to this podcast in your favorite app. That way, you can take us with you in your truck, your tractor, or on your next trip, and never miss an update from Jon. Also, make sure you follow the NCGA on Twitter @NationalCorn and sign up for the National Corn Growers Association newsletter at NCGA.com.

 

Dusty Weis:

And with that it's time to once again introduce Jon. Jon Doggett, the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. And Jon, in the world of business, there's a lot of talk about the value chain, but in our field, it's as much a food chain as it is a value chain. The NCGA has important partners throughout that chain, including leaders in other ag sectors, where corn serves as the primary livestock feed.

 

Jon Doggett:

That's right, Dusty, and what happens to the corn industry has ripple effects across a lot of other industries, our customers, whether they're in the beef business, the dairy business, poultry, raising chickens, or like the subject we're going to talk about today, the pork industry. So it's important that we work closely with all of our partners to make sure that we're all thriving together, even during these very strange and unpredictable times.

 

Jon Doggett:

Our guest this week is Bill Even, the CEO of the National Pork Board. Bill is a long-time leader in agriculture, and he is a fourth generation farmer himself, and I'm going to let him introduce himself just a little bit more. Bill, first of all, thank you for joining us on Wherever Jon May Roam.

 

Bill Even:

Thanks very much, Jon. I really appreciate the opportunity, and yeah, I'm the CEO of the National Pork Board, also known as the Pork Checkoff, located here in Des Moines, Iowa. And as you mentioned, we have now a fifth generation family farm in southeast South Dakota where we raise corn, soybeans, some small grain, hay. We have a cow-calf operation and also a small farm equipment repair business, and we also sell seeds, so seed corn, soybeans, and the like. So deep roots in agriculture, and I'm a partner with my brother and my son in that operation.

 

Jon Doggett:

Bill, I want to bring the pork segment into context for our listeners real quick as we get started, so give us a quick overview of the U.S. pork industry. How big is it? Who's involved? Where are they involved?

 

Bill Even:

Yeah, absolutely, so when you look at the USDA Census of Agriculture, it shows there are about 60,000 people that actively own hogs, raise hogs in one shape or form. Now, of that, our industry has certainly changed over the past 30 years, much like many farm operations have. And so you probably have, if you look at the Successful Farming Pork Powerhouse list, you've got the top 40 production systems, many of whom are large family operations. They have about, I would say 65% of the hogs in the United States.

 

Bill Even:

Here at the Checkoff, we're responsible for everyone. Doesn't matter if you're with a 4-H project and you've got some pigs that you're raising on your farm with your kids all the way up to very large production systems that may be multinational in character. And we collect those dollars, the checkoff dollars. It's 40 cents of every hundred dollars of value of pig sold in the United States, and then we spend those dollars on research, promotion, and education.

 

Bill Even:

The pork industry itself, it's got a variety of actors. A matter of fact, our board president has a very successful pasture-raised pork operation down in northern Arkansas and sells his products directly to consumers and to the restaurant industry. Also on our board of directors, we have people from very large integrator companies as well that are actively involved in the packing industry, so our 15-member farmer board's also pretty diverse, Jon, and we take a lot of pride in being responsible to help everyone.

 

Jon Doggett:

Bill, what are some of the things you're hearing from your producers? Here we've had the pandemic, and we've had all sorts of trade disruptions. What are you hearing from them in the last, say, 30 days or so?

 

Bill Even:

Well, the number one thing is everybody was happy to see the calendar turn over to 2021. 2020 was not a fun year for any of us in society, agriculture in particular. And what the producers are focused on now is, number one, making sure that the production plants, the processing plants and the packers are operating. We had some really dark days last spring, Jon, that put a lot of pressure on our industry. Now, most of the packing industry is operating in that, oh, somewhere 97, 98% operational capacity, which helps. And that's good for consumers because that means the animals are getting from the farms to the processors and then on to the grocery stores.

 

Bill Even:

I think the other issue that folks are focused on right now is certainly profitability. Doesn't matter what you raise in agriculture, we are price takers, so we go into the market and say, "What will you give me for it?" And as producers, right now, they're looking at pretty decent opportunities maybe to hedge. The issue that we've run up against, as you've noted, is the strong increase in corn and soybean prices with a lot of pull from the export markets in particular. That's put pressure on margins right now. You could probably look back to where we were, Jon, maybe a decade ago, and producers having similar questions as how do I manage the cost of my inputs, which in this case, primarily 60% of the cost of raising a hog is related to feed.

 

Jon Doggett:

Sixty percent. What are the biggest needs right now? If you could snap your fingers, what are the two or three problems that are in the forefront beyond those margins and that profitability?

 

Bill Even:

I would say first is on the trade front. We export just under 30% of U.S. pork production. And if you look back, say, to about the mid-nineties, we were a net pork importer in the United States, and the series of free trade agreements that we got put in place around the world that our government worked on diligently really has allowed the U.S. pork industry to expand and grow over those intervening 30-plus years. And so trade is critically important.

 

Bill Even:

And I'd say the next piece is certainly on the regulatory front, wanting to make sure that as we figure out what's our role in understanding sustainability, making sure that, I would say our elected officials and certainly the producers themselves, really understand what's the role that we're going to be expected to play as pork producers. And Jon, as you and I both know with our partnership, corn and soybeans and pork are very tightly tied together, and so where we happen to go is going to be very dependent on where the corn and soybean industry happens to go there.

 

Jon Doggett:

What I also would like, Bill, is can you talk about your trust in protein platform and explain to us what does that do?

 

Bill Even:

It's about a strategy. It's not a tagline. It's about what do we in the pork industry, the beef industry, the poultry industry, and corn and soybean industry all need to get aligned around. And I'll throw in dairy as well as eggs, right? Coming from the milk and the poultry side. We look at today's U.S consumer, and they're looking for transparency, and they're looking for information around sustainability, health, and nutrition. And unfortunately, there are those out there that raise questions about nutrition, and where's meat part of a healthy diet. They raise questions about sustainability. Are corn and soybean farming and manure application, is that somehow harming the environment?

 

Bill Even:

And they ask questions about animal welfare and how are the pigs being raised in the United States. And so, Jon, I think you'd take this kind of this trust in animal protein umbrella, and we've got a plan underway with a number of the people I just mentioned to really step back and say, "How do we need to engage the consumer in the year 2021 and help them answer those questions with confidence?"

 

Bill Even:

And so Trust in Animal Protein is really about meeting the consumer where they're at. And the Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff, we've had now going on a four-year partnership with Google, and we're using our understanding of what people are searching for in real time. It could be, "How do I cook a pork chop?" Or it could be, "Tell me more about how pigs are raised." We need to be able to provide those answers in real time with people that are fact-based. And in a world where you can get anything that you want on your smartphone and probably half of it is inaccurate, I think our job here at the checkoffs are to make sure that there's a trusted voice out there in the midst of all that confusion. And that's part of what Trust in Animal Protein is about as well.

 

Dusty Weis:

Bill, I'm curious, if I went and plugged, "Why is bacon so delicious?" into Google, what would I get back?

 

Bill Even:

I think it's because it's made with angel dust, I believe. We always say bacon's the gateway drug for vegetarians, so we've got flavor going for us, and like anything else ... And the flip side, you've got pork loin, which is incredibly affordable. It's a great lean cut of meat, and it's very versatile and easy to cook. And when we've had consumers stuck at home with a pandemic now for the better part of a year, helping people understand how to cook, that was another major effort we did in 2020 and we're continuing in 2021 because when your favorite restaurant or sports bar is closed and you can't go in there and get your snacks or get your meal, we found out really quickly that a lot of consumers were in Google just asking, "How do I cook?" And so we spent a lot of our marketing budget just helping answer those basic questions.

 

Dusty Weis:

Jon, up around where I'm from, bratwurst, of course, is a staple, both in the parking lots of your favorite sports venues, but also around the house. But I've got to ask you, what's your favorite pork product?

 

Jon Doggett:

Oh, gosh. I'd say a really good, thick pork chop, grilled and maybe like a cranberry sauce or something. Something tart to go with it. Or sauerkraut. I'm still German enough, still eat a lot of sauerkraut. Don't get me started. It's not lunchtime yet, Dusty, and you're going to get me started.

 

Dusty Weis:

Yeah, we've got to stop recording these before lunch here.

 

Jon Doggett:

Yeah. Yeah, we do.

 

Dusty Weis:

Bill, what about you? Favorite pork product.

 

Bill Even:

I am a big fan of pulled pork. Now, I admit, I am a lousy cook. My wife, Janelle, is fantastic. She's got a Traeger, She's got a grill, she's got a nice kitchen, and she loves to cook, and my waistline shows it. But on this point, and I think something worth mentioning here is Jon mentioned a nice, thick pork chop center of plate. There's a number of people that still love their pork that way. But we also are recognizing that pork is an ingredient, along with sometimes center of plate, is really where we need to be.

 

Bill Even:

And we look at our Hispanic market in the US. You've got a base of about, what, 60 million people with Hispanic origin in the US today? The growth rate expected of our Hispanic population is around 160% between now and 2050, and they love pork. They love our product. And so you've got a built-in customer base that's growing, but they tend to eat pork maybe a bit differently than I would, and growing up in the Midwest with that center of plate cut. And so a lot of the work we're doing is in Spanish and deep into the Hispanic markets, just making sure that we're meeting their needs and answering their questions. They have more health-related questions, and if we're able to answer those, it really helps keep them as customers.

 

Dusty Weis:

Bill, to that point, I actually had the pleasure of living in Miami, Florida for a little while, and of course, Miami has a very strong Cubano population down there. And one of the funniest pictures that I ever saw was something that one of my coworkers down there snapped while he was driving to work on the Shula Expressway, and it was the car in the lane next to him, sporty little Miata with the top down, and seat-belted into the passenger seat was an entire lechon, a great big pig ready for the spit roast wrapped in a plastic bag that somebody just seat-belted right into that passenger seat, and away they went down the Shula. It's definitely a market segment for you guys.

 

Bill Even:

Well, and we actually, as you mentioned that, Dusty, we took our board of directors to Miami literally a year ago in January, so January 2020, and we spent three days there deep in the Hispanic community with restaurants, with distributors, with grocery stores, with consumers. And I tell you what, it's very important. Jon knows this as well. Very important to get our board members out of what you call kind of the pork or ag echo chamber and get to, whether it's Miami, get to New York, get to Seattle, get to San Francisco, really understand the consumer segment out there that's buying our product. And often, they don't look like us, and they may speak a different language than us, but they love our product, and so it's our job as marketers to make sure we know them. And I've had the pigs, both in Miami as well as here in Des Moines, Iowa, and it goes really great with a beer in the afternoon, too.

 

Dusty Weis:

It certainly does.

 

Jon Doggett:

Unaccustomed as you are, huh?

 

Bill Even:

Unaccustomed as I am of having a pulled pork sandwich and a cold beer.

 

Jon Doggett:

Bill, I was looking up some figures here. It's been a couple of years ago, but interestingly enough, the state with the fastest growing Hispanic population as a percentage of the population is your home state of South Dakota, which I think is really kind of interesting. And a lot of those people that came to South Dakota are working in those meat packing plants and in other places in agriculture, so it's so interesting how it's a big circle here. We're all kind of interconnected one way or another, and as we bring those folks in to work in meat packing plants, they're coming in with new tastes and developing new markets.

 

Jon Doggett:

Let's talk about another market, and I have experience with this twice, I've done it twice, and that is Beyond Meat. And I have had two of their burgers. Where's the pork industry on this? Are you guys concerned about this?

 

Bill Even:

Yeah, you're talking about alternative proteins, whether it's cultured product or perhaps a processed protein product that's plant-based. Here's where we land. We talk about real pork. And so what do I mean by that? We're real farmers on real farms raising real pigs that's real food. Our ingredient list is one word, and it has four letters: P-O-R-K. And when you get in today's consumer that's looking for clean labels, simplicity, easy-to-understand, minimal ingredients, we're really confident of the story that we have to tell. And frankly, we're pretty proud of it, as well. Not only are we raising real pork, but we've got real nutritional value.

 

Bill Even:

As we've talked about, Jon, the work we're doing with you is helping show real sustainability and sustainable improvement. You can talk about being really versatile, really affordable. That's really where we land on all this. This is the United States, and we're in capitalism, and we do expect and anticipate that when you're in a market-leading position... So when you're king of the mountain, you're always going to have people coming after you trying to grab some of that market share and grab some of that affinity. And frankly, we welcome the competition because we're glad of who we are and what we do.

 

Bill Even:

I think the bigger issue, and I've had this conversation with Kevin Ross on your board of directors, Jon, is where do we go around handling what mom always told you to do? How do you eat your meat and vegetables? And I think when you really look at the opportunities for the meat industry to figure out, not on this highly processed, unpronounceable sort of things that we might be dealing with, but how do you really ensure that people are eating that balanced diet, which is going to include meat, is going to include your vegetables. I think there's going to be some creative ways coming up forward on that that the public hasn't seen yet. And so it's not about eat this, not that. It's really about how are you eating healthy? And I think that's a much more honest way to approach the conversation with the consumer.

 

Dusty Weis:

Bill, I wanted to ask you, you alluded to what a challenging year 2020 was for everybody, but especially for pork farmers. And I've heard it said that 2020 was the year where the imperative was to adapt, pivot, and overcome. And so what were some of the challenges that were posed to the pork industry specifically by the COVID pandemic, and how did you overcome those challenges?

 

Bill Even:

If you wind the clock back to March, and it was literally right around St. Patrick's Day when many of the states started shutting down and sending people home, that was kind of a turning point. And it was shortly after that, as you started to get into early April and we saw COVID starting to spread across the United States, various businesses, various communities in the country, and it started to impact the processing industry and the food industry.

 

Bill Even:

I clearly remember it was Easter Sunday a year ago when the wheels really started to come off the wagon, and we started to see the domino effect of processing plants starting to close. And as you folks may know, the pigs don't stop growing. The sows don't stop farrowing. And so you have this just-in-time supply chain that's designed to keep the grocery stores stocked, and suddenly, that mid-point in that supply chain processing started to grind to a halt. And at one point, by the time we got to early May, right around corn planting time in the upper Midwest, we were operating maybe at 50% capacity in the United States, and so we had this massive backlog of animals on farms at the same time you had grocery store shelves going empty.

 

Bill Even:

And it was a very, very difficult time for our producers. As you folks may have also heard, we had some producers doing the unthinkable, where they had to actually go out and euthanize perfectly healthy market-ready animals and try to dispose of them. We spent a lot, a lot of time in the spring last year working with states, state veterinarians, and producers, trying to just figure out how do we do this in a humane fashion for the animals, Dusty. And candidly, how do you do it in a humane fashion for the people?

 

Bill Even:

I had a producer call me up one day and he said, "Bill," he said, "I am just sick to my stomach. We've got a barn that we've just got nowhere to go." And he said, "We've got 3000 head of hogs in there." And he said, "I can't ask by employees to do it." So he said, "I'm taking my boys out, and we're just going to have to deal with us ourselves."

 

Bill Even:

Those were very trying times in the pork industry. But I will say, farmers are great improvisers, and we worked with state officials, in particular, state by state, trying to allow some emergency double-stocking of barns, reduce feed rations and the like to kind of limit feed the diets. And thank goodness it never materialized at the scale we were afraid it was going to, but overall, again, no one was more happy to see 2021 than I think pork producers to get that year put behind us.

 

Dusty Weis:

And Bill, Jon alluded to it a little bit earlier, but pork is an important customer segment for corn farmers. They're partners, really, in agriculture. But just what are we talking about here? Can you quantify exactly how important pork is to the corn industry?

 

Bill Even:

Absolutely, and we're really proud of that partnership. Many of our pork producers are active grain farmers themselves raising corn and soybeans. I did look up some numbers here to answer that question. And right now, when you look at the U.S. pork herd in total in the latest year we have numbers for in 2019, we're about 900 million bushels of corn that we're consuming, and around 250 million bushels of soybeans in the form of soybean meal. And so we are just shy of a billion bushels of the U.S. corn crop is consumed by hogs in this country.

 

Bill Even:

And as I mentioned earlier, a large part of what we do and a large part of the pork industry's environmental footprint is directly tied to what's happening on those row crop acres of corn and soybean farmers, so we're really joined at the hip. And I think that's the important part that I really want to get across on this podcast is that we've got to work together as an industry, and Jon and the National Corn Growers Association have been great partners, really, on issues related to sustainability, as well as trade.

 

Jon Doggett:

Bill, you're absolutely right. We are so closely aligned. You're not only a customer, but again, many of your members are our members, and we do all need to work together. And you brought up the term sustainability. We are doing a lot in the Corn Growers on sustainability. How important is that to your industry? What are you doing? What could we do more of in our industry?

 

Bill Even:

Well, and I've got to credit the leadership of NCGA and Jon and the team there. It was probably well over three years ago now that the leaders from the pork industry, the corn industry, and the soybean industry sat down and their farmer leaders signed a memorandum of understanding that we were going to share information and partner with our checkoff research dollars in the area of sustainability research. And big kudos to the National Corn Growers, and I've got a list of a few things here I should just mention, Jon.

 

Bill Even:

We've just completed this life cycle harmonization research with corn and soy and pork out of the University of Arkansas. We've worked on joint organizational goals related to sustainability. Both Jon, your team, and particularly Nathan Fields, who's directly working with us at the Pork Board. We've got work underway to build a draft feed supply blueprint so that we really understand how that comes from the crop acre up through the pigs and then on to the consumers. And then we've got kind of a corn, pork, soy sustainability initiative that we're working on as well. So those are just tangible examples, Jon, of how your organization has leaned in and partnered with us in a fantastic fashion.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well, Bill, and we asked you some months ago to participate in our market recovery plan, and we appreciate the fact that you came to those meetings and participated. And for those who don't know, we put together a group of our customers to talk about what can we do over the next five years to increase corn demand? We took that question to our customers, which was interesting because not only do we continue to be focused on the longterm, but we were looking more at the short term. What are those base hits can we hit? Bill, you and I both learned a lot, I think, in that. I can't remember who it was that was talking about cold storage and the need for cold storage overseas. We just heard a lot of little things here, there, and the next place, little things that we can do that, over time, and you add enough of them together, we might actually have something that we can work with. What did you get out of that process?

 

Bill Even:

Well, I think first is the acknowledgement, leadership, and courage it took for the National Corn Growers Association, in the middle of a pandemic, to essentially stop some of the work you were working on and say, "We're going to do a really good formal assessment so that we can act in real time." And you did bring together a great deal of the supply chain to talk about that, a lot of your customers.

 

Bill Even:

I'd say one of the things that I think we need to acknowledge is the support that the corn industry has given the U.S. Meat Export Federation. As I mentioned earlier, we export nearly 30% of U.S. pork production, and state corn grower associations, National Corn Growers Association, have always been good supportive partners of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. And that organization based out of Denver, that pork and beef and lamb all are tied into, really are our eyes and ears on the ground internationally and help us move product in the global market space. So I think that's an important point that came out of that discussion is the importance of the trade of meat.

 

Bill Even:

I'd say the other piece is really understanding, as you look at your end users, Jon, right? You've got the livestock, the feed side of the equation. You've got the industrial human commercial use components, and you've got the ethanol industry and you've got exports. Now, traditionally, there's been a bit of a tension, I would say, between the livestock industry and the corn industry, going back a decade around the area of corn use for ethanol. And I think an example of us trying to put that in the rear view mirror is the work that you did, Jon, with that strategic planning initiative because we sat shoulder to shoulder with all these various end users and worked collaboratively to come up with some ideas on how we made sure the U.S. corn farmer was going to remain in business and be successful. And it's going to take all these different components, livestock, fuel, end use, and exports, for row crop farmers just like myself in order to stay in business.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well, and I would point out, I will correct you slightly in that you weren't sitting shoulder to shoulder at most meetings. We were socially distanced, and everyone was wearing their mask.

 

Dusty Weis:

Figurative shoulders.

 

Jon Doggett:

Figuratively.

 

Dusty Weis:

Figuratively, right.

 

Jon Doggett:

Yes, so Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. What are the threats on your radar screen? What are the things that keep you, if not laying awake at night, at least maybe getting up a little earlier in the morning?

 

Bill Even:

Well, the number one issue for us, and it should be for corn growers as well, is the threat of foreign animal disease, particularly African swine fever. And so if you look at the global pork industry, half of all the hogs in the world are in China. And when African swine fever broke out in China two and a half years ago, half of those pigs are dead. And so we've lost over a quarter of the world's pork supply in about 24 months. That's a demand issue for corn growers as well, as well as a supply issue for consumers, particularly in Asia. Now, it's important for your listeners to note, African swine fever, it's a disease of pigs and not people, and pork is safe to eat. And this is really, it's an animal health and welfare issue that we're trying to deal with globally.

 

Bill Even:

Now, African swine fever, thank God, knock on wood is not in the United States. It's not in North America. And that's probably the number one thing that we're worried about, Jon, a trade limiting foreign animal disease that's going to harm our animals. Put it this way. If we would have it break out in the United States, our export markets would immediately close. We would have 30% more pork sitting here onshore in the United States, and you know what that's going to do to prices. And you also know what that's going to do to the demand side of the equation. So that 900 million bushels of corn, that number starts to decline really rapidly, and suddenly, what's our problem becomes corn's problem, become soybean's problem, and then becomes a state problem with tax revenue and the terrible economic fallout that would come from that. That's probably the number one thing that we're worried about, Jon.

 

Jon Doggett:

Certainly, all we'd have to do is look at some of the things that have happened in other countries or other sectors of the livestock industry. Poultry certainly has had their problems with some diseases running through chicken houses. Pretty scary stuff. And I really have to say, my hat is off to the U.S. pork industry because I know that you have pushed very, very hard and been very diligent in keeping what's a pretty nasty disease out of your herds here in this country, and so congratulations and thank you. We appreciate everything you've done in concert with our organization over the years. But as we wind this conversation down, I'm curious to know what can we do as the corn industry to better support our pork customers?

 

Bill Even:

First off, keep raising corn, right? That's important, right? We love to have the domestic supply.

 

Jon Doggett:

And Bill, I am not going to promise cheaper corn prices for you. I want you to know that right off the bat.

 

Bill Even:

Well, as long as you promise higher hog prices, I think we'll be fine.

 

Jon Doggett:

Done.

 

Bill Even:

With that settled, to answer your question, Jon, where do we go from here? Jon, you and I don't take these jobs if we don't believe in the checkoff and what they do for producers. We wouldn't be here if that wasn't the case. And what we've been able to demonstrate with corn and soy in particular is a real understanding. It's going to take partnerships. We've got producers out there that are paying the corn checkoff, they're paying the soybean checkoff, and they're paying the pork checkoff, and what they're expecting out of their respective boards and their respective staffs of these organizations is that they work together and share those checkoff dollars around and don't duplicate things and be inefficient.

 

Bill Even:

That's no different than how you run your own farm operations. And so remembering who we are and where we come from, not get above your raising, as it's said, is going to do us good stead going forward. So that continued, I would say, collaborative work, particularly in the area of sustainability. We're very close to having the carbon neutral pig. So there's a really great bright future in front of us here, but it's only going to happen if we're working really closely with the corn growers.

 

Jon Doggett:

Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board, thank you so much for joining us on this podcast. I'm Jon Doggett. I'm the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. Thanks for listening, and tune in next month for another episode of Wherever Jon May Roam, the NCGA podcast.

 

Dusty Weis:

That is going to wrap up this edition of Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast. New episodes arrive monthly, so make sure you subscribe on your favorite app and join us again soon. Visit NCGA.com to learn more, or sign up for the association's email newsletter. Wherever Jon May Roam is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and produced by Podcamp Media, branded podcast production for businesses, PodcampMedia.com. For the National Corn Growers Association, thanks for listening. I'm Dusty Weis.

 

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