Picture of crowd outside of the Varied Industries Building at 2017 World Pork Expo National Hog Farmer/Kevin Schulz

Hot temps and topics at World Pork Expo

Another World Pork Expo is in the books, and the 2017 version appears to have been another success.

The temperatures may have pushed 90 degrees in Des Moines at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, but that did not seem to hamper the normal festivities and activities of the annual gathering of global producers, businesses and industry experts.

A major announcement from National Hog Farmer kicked off the first day’s activities as we unveiled our Global Mega Producer package in cooperation with, and sponsored by, Genesus. The Global Mega Producer package offers a comprehensive picture of the worldwide pork industry, highlighting hog production companies each with at least 100,000 sows. These pork production enterprises are as diverse in their production models as they are in their locations and business structure.

The middle word of this event is Pork, so of course we need to mention this most-consumed animal protein in the world. Producers are very good at producing hogs to be turned into the delicious finished product for consumers. But just how do we get pork on consumers’ plates, and maybe more importantly, how do we keep it there?

The Pork Checkoff announced the development of a marketing plan to have greater appeal in the ever-changing consumer world. National Pork Board CEO, Bill Even, says big changes that require a new marketing plan are driven by what he calls “the three Ms”: Millennials, Mobile and Multicultural.

“The Pork Checkoff has embarked on a journey to determine how best to market pork today,” says Terry O’Neel, NPB president and pork producer from Friend, Neb. “The direction may be drastically different than we’ve seen in the last quarter century.”

The best marketing plan to get pork on plates is all for naught if we can’t get pigs to market. Though it hasn’t occurred since 1929, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States would be devastating to the entire livestock industry, not to mention the U.S. economy as a whole.

An Iowa State University study estimates potential revenue losses to U.S. pork and beef industries from an FMD outbreak would run $12.8 billion per year or $128 billion over a 10-year period. Related losses to corn and soybean markets over a decade would be $44 billion and $24.9 billion, respectively.

If FMD is detected in the U.S. swine population, one of the first steps is to halt transportation of live animals. With that in mind, the Pork Checkoff announced on the first day of World Pork Expo 2017 the development of a Secure Pork Supply plan to minimize business disruption from all foreign animal diseases.

Though FMD is the last thing that any hog producer wants to utter, being prepared is the best possible move to maybe lessen the overall impact should the herd become infected. That is the plan of this plan: be prepared so that in the event of a disease break, hog producers can quickly get back to what they do best — produce delicious, safe pork for consumers worldwide.

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