The World Pork Expo is the largest pork-focused show of its kind in the world, according to the National Pork Producers Council; and it's easy to see that's the truth as you walk around the showgrounds as people get ready for opening day.
We took a walk around the facility and found ourselves surrounded by crates and people hard at work doing a range of tasks to finalize their exhibits. We also caught some of the swine show with junior and intermediate youth hard at work on their showmanship.
This gallery of images offers you a glimpse of the show. Consider it a kind of behind the curtain look at the event, trust us when you get here all the boxes and crates will be gone and you'll get a chance to check out the 375-plus exhibitors on hand and catch up on hot topics at the show.
You can check out descriptions of each photo to the right and advance each image so you can check out what we found. And if you hang on until the end we have a special slide for you to check out.
1. Prepping Lunch
The folks at AP like the World Pork Expo and they're always cooking. This isn't the food they'll offer on opening day, it's just lunch for the hard working team putting the exhibit together inside the building. Note that there's bacon on that grill!
2. All kinds of tools
Apparently smokers come in a range of sizes. Nothing in this bad boy's belly…yet. But with Lynch BBQ at work during the World Pork Expo, who knows. It would look good in someone's backyard.
3. Special plate
This is just a glimpse of the pork industry's creativity, we'll have something special later this week as we check around the show site. This plate was on a Lynch BBQ trailer and it pretty much speaks for itself.
4. Stand-out setup garb
Well, when everyone wears the same shirt you can tell who on your team isn't working. That wasn't the case with the Hormel crew as they set up - everyone was working. Best part of those shirts? They're SPAM shirts with a nice vintage tie-dye look.
5. Tech invades the show exhibit
The folks at AP, a division of GSI, worked on setting up their exhibit over the weekend. When we ran into them Kevin Rath, district manager, left, was watching the crew work out the video display for the show. It's increasingly common for booths to feature big screens showing computer information. The team did get the system working.
6. Some assembly required
BridgRid systems was putting the finishing touches on their innovative product when we stopped by. The company was honored in the <em>National Hog Farmer</em> New Product Tour two years ago.
7. Finishing touches
As exhibits go up there are a lot of moving parts to consider, like little signs that have to be affixed all over the display space.
8. Cleaning up your act
We found Darrell Hunt, director of sales, New Modern Concepts, dusting a literature display stand as he finished up the booth. The Iowa Falls, Iowa, company offers a full range products for pork producers.
9. New face in the crowd
Controller maker Maximus is a first-timer at the World Pork Expo. The company's software system will allow you to run the operation from a smart phone.
10. Unpacking for show
Getting a clean, detailed display like you see in this picture, can be a challenge. Take this Monoflo display, the inset image shows how those parts first arrived - packed in plastic.
11. Ready to rumble
Some exhibits were already set up when we arrived early the day before the event. Some people just seem to have a knack for this.
12. Housing for everyone
The Global Compassion Network takes an innovative bin design and turns it into a 256-square-foot living space (with another 125-square-feet in a loft) that can be set up quickly and easily anywhere in the world. The effort began with Sukup Manufacturing after the devastating earthquake in Haiti more than five years ago - and it has grown from there. Today Dennis Anderson, who works with the project, explains they've been set up in Kenya, Peru and at the headwaters of the Amazon River. They're setting up at World Pork Expo because farmers are big supporters and they want to show them how the project works.
13. Carcass control
On-farm composting is becoming a big business as more companies get involved. The folks at Nioex Systems-Sierens are marketing an in-vessel composting system that can range up to 42-feet in length. The big ones can handle up to 500,000 per day. Greg Esau, general manager, notes that the system turns slowly - 12 to 13 times per day. That way oxygen can mix with the carcasses and the carbon material - such as wood chips - to complete the conversion to compost process.
14. More than hog equipment
Companies like Street Town and Country out of Indianola, Iowa, have more than pork equipment on hand - there are others in the family who would appreciate something from the show.
15. Pork Expo Swag
The official Pork Expo products are on hand for those who want a well-made souvenir. Check them out near the livestock buildings.
For pork on the hoof, comfort is a great tool for productivity. For these pigs, awaiting their time in the show ring, was a no-sweat endeavor.
17. Moving toward competition
Mallory Skinner, Buckeye, Ariz., was getting ready to show when we stopped by. The pig dutifully when where it was guided - the showers ahead of showing.
18. Pig wash anyone?
Grant Colvin, right, is from Russellville, Indiana, and was running his pig through the wash ahead of the show.
19. Showmanship technique
A swine judge is important when you're in the ring - you have to keep your eyes on the judge as part of the requirements of showmanship and these two lads make that happen.
20. Happy to show!
At least one person exhibiting at the 2014 World Pork Expo was happy with her placement in the junior show as the event gets rolling.
21. We're also ready
The <em>National Hog Farmer</em> has been covering World Pork Expo for years. This display includes the New Product tour which allows show visitors to vote on their favorite new product during the event. So be sure to stop by and say hello!
22. T-shirt statement
T-Shirts can really make a statement, and these two do a great job of having fun with showing pigs. We look forward to the other t-shirts we'll see around the show this year.