Producers share ideas, seek innovations at 2024 World Pork Expo

Attendance grew this year, with a 15% increase over 2023 figures.

June 13, 2024

4 Min Read

The 36th World Pork Expo, presented by the National Pork Producers Council, hosted more than 12,000 producers and industry professionals from 37 countries at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on June 5-6. The world’s largest pork-specific trade show, World Pork Expo offers a wide range of free seminars, networking and hospitality opportunities.

“World Pork Expo brings out the best in the swine industry,” said Lori Stevermer, NPPC president and Minnesota pork producer. “There are so many educational and networking opportunities. I hope everyone who attended Expo went home with a new idea they can implement on their farm for a long-term benefit.”

Cautious optimism

Exhibitors look forward to talking with producers from the United States and elsewhere in the world. “International visitors come to look at what’s new,” said Natalia Rimi HeisterKamp, global strategy director for Gestal Jyga Technologies. “A lot of them mirror U.S. production because the United States is a leader in many ways. They want to see how U.S. producers get the production numbers that they do.”

As for U.S. producers, Hyatt Frobose, the company’s U.S. commercial director and nutritionist, said World Pork Expo attendees presented cautious optimism. “After a long period of losses, producers are beginning to re-invest in their facilities, adopting new technologies and asking questions so they can continue to raise pork as effectively and efficiently as anywhere in the world.”

Precision feeding to reduce feed costs and improve the sustainability of their operations — to produce more with less — are priorities that he heard from producers’ conversations. “Producers have to spend their money wisely and it’s important to help them work through that decision-making process,” Frobose noted, “to help them prioritize where their money is going to make the most progress.”

Reaching a range of participants

Eric Sanny, account manager at Novus International, Inc., also found producers to be more positive this year, with improved profit margins compared to last year. “They are taking action to improve productivity and maximize profitability. But we also can’t forget that they are trying to dig out of one of the worst economic periods in recent history,” he noted. “They also believe that pork demand is going to continue to grow.”

He likes to see a variety of ages in attendees and hopes more young people come to the World Pork Expo. “Whether you’ve been in the industry a long time or are a young person coming in, [World Pork] Expo is a good education spot,” Sanny said. “There are a lot of resources to gain knowledge and understand the nuances of production.”

Youth program spotlights industry's future

NPPC added a new program to this year’s World Pork Expo lineup — The Young Pork Advocates Issues Meet, sponsored by Novus and Nutra Blend. The two-day competition was designed for youth from 17 to 22 years old to participate in collaborative discussions around industry issues and draft innovative solutions.

“The goal is to engage more young people and bring them to World Pork Expo,” said Seth Mitchell, manager of state pork industry relations at NPPC. “We see it as a launch pad to future involvement in the pork industry.”

Twelve youth from eight states participated in the inaugural event, with four finalists receiving scholarships. The winner, Emma Kuhns from Illinois, received a $2,500 scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the NPPC Legislative Action Conference in September. The other finalists were Amanda Ostrem, Iowa, $2,000; Graca Goettsch, Iowa, $1,500; and Bella Stouffer, Washington, $1,000.

“The connections and conversations are what make this program so important. I am immensely grateful to NPPC for creating this program,” Kuhns said. She will be attending law school in the fall. “I plan to stay actively engaged in my family’s operation. But equally important, I want to practice law to protect pork producers’ livelihoods and represent their interests in all areas, including personal business planning, regulatory compliance and conflict resolution.”

Something for everyone

Between Pork Academy, presented by the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff, and company-sponsored Business Seminars, there were numerous opportunities to gather the latest insights into topics impacting pork production today and in the future. From the U.S. and global market economic outlook to carbon markets and sustainability options on the farm, swine health and biosecurity, consumer trust and pork demand, World Pork Expo seminars offered something for everyone.

“I encourage anyone in the pork industry to come to World Pork Expo because you will see the newest products and innovations, have access to educational seminars on current industry topics and get the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from others,” Stevermer noted.

There is always an abundance of delicious pork offerings among the Hospitality Tents and the Big Grill for show attendees to enjoy. An annual highlight, the Big Grill, staffed by Iowa’s Tama County Pork Producers Association and friends, served more than 5,000 free pork lunches supplied by Brenneman Pork, Tyson Foods and PFG during the two days of World Pork Expo.

The 2025 World Pork Expo will be held June 4-5, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

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