Universities Combine Expertise to Build Trust between Pork Producers and Pork Consumers

06/28/2023 College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Animal Sciences

Derrick Coble, Ph.D., talks with farmers at a field demonstration during Small Farms Field Day at N.C. A&T recently. Coble works with Berkshire swine.
National Pork Board Establishes Real Pork Trust Consortium

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (June 28, 2023) – The National Pork Board recently announced a new five-year effort focused on addressing consumer questions related to the pork industry’s We Care® Ethical Principles and strengthening consumers’ confidence in choosing pork for their plate.

The Real Pork Trust Consortium brings together the diverse expertise of five universities and will focus on three key areas to build consumer trust: 1) research designed to answer consumer questions about pork and pork production, 2) communications that share the research findings in a relatable, relevant way consumers can easily understand and use when making decisions, and 3) training to empower people from various walks of life to share research-based information about the pork industry.

“The producer leaders of the National Pork Board recognize the need to engage with consumers to make sure we understand their questions, and they understand more about our commitment to people, pigs and the planet,” said Bob Ruth, a producer from Pennsylvania and 2023-24 president of National Pork Board. “We also know we can’t do that alone. This unique partnership with exceptional talent from multiple land grant universities is an innovative approach for our industry, and we're excited to support the effort through consortium’s advisory council as they identify the most impactful ways to build trust in modern pork production.” 

Derrick J. CobleDerrick J. Coble, Ph.D., swine specialist and assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, is a part of the consortium.

“Our role in the Real Pork Trust Consortium is to help train producers and future swine professionals to effectively communicate research related to pork production and pork products,” said Coble. “Through the training of graduate students at the nation’s largest 1890 land-grant institution, and producer of African American graduates in agriculture, the Consortium is training a diverse group of swine scientists, experts, and professionals on behalf of the swine industry.

“North Carolina A&T State University is eager to work with our partner institutions and industry partners to ensure that industry-related research is effectively communicated to the public. The wealth of expertise in the Real Pork Trust Consortium allows for transdisciplinary research, training, and communication that will improve the sustainability of pork production, while ensuring the food safety and nutritional standards of pork products.”

The Real Pork Trust Consortium consists of Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, North Carolina State University, A&T, and the University of Minnesota. Among the five universities, leading experts in science communication, animal science, animal welfare, veterinary medicine, meat sciences and product safety, nutrition, agricultural economics, sustainability, sociology and agricultural education will work side by side using a systems approach.

“Consumers want answers to their questions about the food they eat – and we have good, science-backed answers to share,” said University of Georgia professor Alexa Lamm. “At the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, we are excited to partner with an industry that wants to work with scientists to find the answers and use the best methods to communicate transparently about the research behind pork production. We want everyone to have the information they need to make educated choices about the food they eat.”

The consortium is in the planning phase and will share more information about its approach and planned work in the fall. To stay up-to-date on its work and other initiatives from the Pork Checkoff, visit porkcheckoff.org and sign up if the weekly email.

Media Contact Information: llbernhardt@ncat.edu

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