The world's largest pork-specific trade show promises three days packed with education, innovation and networking. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council, the 2019 World Pork Expo is set for June 5-7 with this year's theme “See, discover, connect.”
Each year, more than 20,000 pork producers and representatives attend the event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines to attend educational seminars, learn about the latest products, services and technology within the trade show and share ideas and perspectives with their peers.
“Expo has something for everyone, regardless of your operation’s size or whether you’re an owner, grower, employee, veterinarian or allied industry representative. All aspects of the pork production cycle are presented at Expo,” says David Herring, NPPC president and pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “It’s a great place to see what’s new, discover opportunities and connect with other pork professionals.”
Expo’s crown jewel is its vast trade show where more than 500 U.S. and international companies display products and services from animal health, nutrition, building and equipment, finance, marketing, genetics and more. The Jacobson Exhibition Center will return this year, combining with the Varied Industries Building and outdoor displays to present more than 360,000 square feet of exhibit space.
“Exhibitor interest continues to build, and we plan to expand the outdoor exhibits in the space between the VIB and JEC,” says Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPPC. “For people who haven’t been to Expo for several years, they would be surprised to see how much the show has changed. If you hope to see it all, you will definitely need two days.”
More exhibitors also want to link up with the live-hog shows to display their products and services, so areas around the swine, sheep and cattle barns will be seeing more activity.
Company-sponsored hospitality tents continue to flourish and can be found throughout the fairgrounds. Fricke expects 60 or so hospitality tents at this year’s Expo, giving allied industry representatives an opportunity to connect with producers and their employees in a more relaxed setting.
Expo attendees can visit the trade show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 7.
The three days of Expo are packed with events and activities, from educational seminars to live-hog shows to business meetings to music and plenty of tasty, grilled pork.
Always high on that list are the nearly two dozen free educational and informational seminars that address innovative production and management strategies, as well as current issues, topics and trends that producers face on and off the farm. The PORK Academy and Business Seminars will run throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday in both the JEC and VIB
But there are a host of other activities that Expo visitors won’t want to miss:
- Junior National — The World Pork Expo Junior National, hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, kicks off Expo week with activities on Monday, June 3. In its 16 years, the Expo Junior National has grown into one of the nation’s largest youth hog shows. Organizers report that 1,500 exhibitors from 32 states and 3,500 hogs are expected for this year’s show. The Junior National combines educational activities and certification programs, with swine judging, live-hog competitions and showmanship.
- Open Show — On Friday, June 7, the open show, presented by the National Swine Registry, features hundreds of crossbred and purebred boars and gilts from throughout the United States. A breeding stock sale rounds out the live-hog events on Saturday morning, June 8.
- Pre-Expo tour — A two-day, Midwest Agricultural Tour takes place ahead of Expo, beginning on the morning of Monday, June 3, through Tuesday, June 4. Participants will travel across Iowa into Illinois and Indiana, for a first-hand look at crop and pork production, farm equipment manufacturing and commodity shipping.
- NPPC hospitality tent — Expo offers an opportunity to visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to gain perspective on legislation, regulation and public policy issues that impact pork production.
- MusicFest — Presented on Thursday evening, this social event provides an opportunity for visitors to relax, enjoy some free live music and refreshments, while interacting with their peers. This year will feature country singer/songwriter Jake McVey and the crowd-pleasing cover band The Pork Tornadoes.
- Big Grill — More than 10,000 free pork lunches are served during the three days of Expo. Plan to stop by from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to enjoy some tasty pork.
“Expo is truly an industry-wide event and reflects the vitality of U.S. pork production,” Herring says. “As individuals make plans to attend this year’s Expo, I want to reinforce the importance that biosecurity measures play on our farms every day and that we need to take the necessary precautions anytime we leave and return to our herds. After all, we all want to ensure the health and well-being of our industry for years to come.”
Pre-registration is available online and offers a discounted rate of $10 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $1 for children, 6 to 11 years old. Onsite registration will be $20 per adult. Whether you pre-register or do so onsite, it provides entrance into Expo for all three days. There is also a special Friday-only option for $10.