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S.D. farmer named to U.S. pork board

MITCHELL, S.D. - When the emergence of the H1N1 flu brought with it the unfortunate moniker of "swine flu," pork producers across the nation took a hit.

The industry is on its way to recovery, said Brad Greenway, one of three newly-appointed board members of the 15-member National Pork Board, but many producers will not emerge unscathed.

"It's been a long stretch for producers and it's been hard on producers in the country," Greenway said. "We're going to lose a lot of great producers, which is really sad."

Greenway, who operates a pig operation eight miles west of Mitchell, said it didn't take long after his appointment to see the effect that the decline in pork sales had on the board itself. In a meeting earlier this week in Oklahoma City, the board voted to cut its 2010 budget by 22 percent because of a lack of checkoff funds.

The checkoff program is funded by an assessment of 0.4 percent of the market value of all hogs sold in the United States. An equivalent amount is assessed on imported hogs, pork and pork products.

Greenway said he's optimistic about the industry's recovery, especially since the message continues to spread that there is no connection between the H1N1 virus and the consumption or handling of pork products.

"Producers have been in the red, but there is light at the end of the tunnel," Greenway said. "We're looking at the summer of 2010 before we're actually back in the black."

Many South Dakota producers are faring better than others in the country, Greenway said, since many raise their own feed.

Greenway is no stranger to serving on pork boards. He was elected to the executive board of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council in 2000, becoming involved with three different committees and serving two years as president.

He received the Pork All-American Award in 2002 and was a Pork Act Delegate for the 2006 World Pork Industry Forum.

Greenway said following in the footsteps of former board members and current producers like Chet McManus, of Fulton, and Dennis Michael, of Yankton, was part of his motivation for accepting the appointment.

"I've got some big shoes to fill, but I look forward to that," Greenway said. "I'll try to help producers as much as I can."