People, Pigs and the Planet


With the launch of the revised Pork Quality Assurance Plus program this summer, food companies are seeing value in this certification program. Pork Checkoff vice president of channel marketing Jarrod Sutton says the entire food supply chain appreciates high industry standards for animal care…

“Well, I think it’s an important backstop.  As you know there’s a lot of questions from food companies regarding today’s modern farm production practices, and I think it covers a wide range of food, but specifically as it relates to the pig industry and pork production, this is the program   to address concerns as it relates to animal welfare and food safety, and that is obviously very important areas of emphasis for food companies as they continue to explore corporate social responsibility strategies, practices, expectations, in their supply chain.”

PQA Plus has been in existence for a long time, which is significant…

“Our job now, at the National Pork Board in particular, is to ensure that our food chain partners, particularly food service and retail partners appreciate the longevity of the program, the voluntary process of pork producers coming together with academia, with industry experts, veterinarians, etc., and building this program to essentially address and hopefully exceed concerns expectations of food service partners.

So, started it a long time ago,   the program continues to evolve, that’s an important point for food companies as well, as new scientific discoveries continue to work their way into the PQA program, it continues to evolve.   And, as you know PQA-Plus 3.0 is the current iteration of the program, and so a lot of retail companies, a lot of food service companies are asking questions about animal handling on the farm.   It’s addressed in Pork Quality Assurance Plus, they’re asking about use of antibiotics on the farm, and as you know that’s a big part of Pork Quality Assurance Plus, as well.”   

Sutton says PQA Plus is a great platform to connect pig farmers and food industry partners.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.