Pork America, a producer owned and directed cooperative, announced that the organization has made significant progress in identifying business opportunities and securing shareholders in its first twelve months of operation. As it moves into its second year it will place priority on converting these opportunities into firm commitments and fully functional businesses. To accomplish these goals it announces John McNutt, director of development, has stepped down to make way for those who will lead year two strategies.

Since its launch in December 1999, Pork America has focused all resources on identifying viable businesses to invest in that will help it reach its long-term goals and to enlist producer shareholders willing to invest in the organization. Now, only 12 months later, Pork America announces the following accomplishments: .

Proof-of-concept plant--Pork America has identified several existing small facilities that could be used as a proof-of-concept plant. This type of operation would be both a generator of revenues to fuel further developments and, more importantly, a proving ground to demonstrate the organization's ability to develop and deliver innovative products to specified quality and consistency standards. At the present time evaluations are underway to determine which plant would be most advantageous for Pork America to operate.

Pork America plant--the organization is moving forward with discussions to determine the feasibility of owning and operating a full-scale, state-of-the-art facility of the size and scale that can generate significant, long-term profits for its shareholders. At the same time, a city is also courting Pork America with offers to assist in helping it build such a facility. In keeping with its commitments to develop opportunities where profits can be assured, Pork America is moving ahead to secure firm contracts for the meat it expects to produce in any plant, in order to develop a site.

Partnerships, joint ventures--sophisticated marketers and merchandisers feeling the pressures of needing to bring high-quality, consistent, safe, high-value pork products to their customers and consumers are talking with Pork America about partnership and joint-venture opportunities. Using a proof-of -concept plant as a test ground, it is expected these discussions can be rapidly converted into formal contracts that will be negotiated to ensure equitable profits are returned to Pork America shareholders.

Shareholders--a solid base of producer investors has been built.

Eligible producers, those who bear the significant financial burden and risk of hog ownership and are not in the slaughter business, have been offered the opportunity to become Pork America shareholders. To date, the organization's shareholder base includes producers and producer groups who represent 10% of U.S. annual pork production. It is expected that by 2001 that number will rise to 20% or more.

"The work completed to date has been significant to the future of our organization," said Pork America Board Chairman Jack Rundquist. "Now it is time to begin turning investor dollars into profit-generating businesses so we can pursue other new business ventures. To that end, we have accepted the resignation of John McNutt who helped bring us to this point and has successfully completed his assignment."

"John has been an exceptional asset in the Pork America journey, opening doors for us that otherwise would have been closed, and we are indebted to him for his service," said Rundquist.

"We are now redirecting our resources to concurrently and aggressively develop the opportunities at hand and to keeping the dialog open for other opportunities along the way. No company, including Pork America, has unlimited dollars. Our first responsibility is to use shareholder money in an efficient, effective and responsible manner to get the job done. That is why we buy the talent we need when we need it. Some are contracted staff assignments. Others are engaged as consultants."

Any further decisions regarding staff, structure, appointments and resource deployment needed to pursue year two goals will come in the next 60 to 90 days. As from the beginning, the producer-elected board of directors will continue to serve as both board and staff until and after these decisions are made.

Pork America is a "new generation cooperative" created by producers who recognized the industry had matured and natural business evolution would bring about opportunity for those poised to capture it, including pork producers. Those interested in Pork America should contact www.porkamerica.com or 877-987-7675.

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