Illinois Bacon Day shines light on state's pork industry

IPPA members address challenges facing pig farmers such as market fluctuation, environmental concerns and high feed costs.

May 2, 2024

3 Min Read

This week the Illinois Pork Producers Association was at the Illinois State Capital to celebrate the commemoration of Senate Joint Resolution 50, sponsored by Senator Tom Bennett (R-53), which designated May 1 as “Illinois Bacon Day."

"This resolution declares May 1 as 'Illinois Bacon Day' to spotlight the importance of the pork industry in Illinois," says Bennett. "I am proud to represent pig farmers in my senate district."

Illinois pig farmers, IPPA staff and FFA state officers handed out BLT sandwiches to legislators and discussed the role that pork production plays in Illinois, the fourth largest pork producing state in the United States.

According to the 2023 Bacon Market Report, the global bacon market size reached $68.5 billion in 2022. Looking forward, the publisher expects the market to reach $86.6 billion by 2028. In fact, studies show that the average American eats about 18 pounds of bacon each year. Illinois pork producers keep up with that demand by producing over six billion slices of bacon, annually. They are committed to providing consumers with the highest quality protein available.

IPPA used "Illinois Bacon Day" as an opportunity to highlight how the pork industry supports over 57,000 jobs, contributing an estimated $13.8 billion dollars to the economy.

“Educating the public about pork production is extremely important to the Illinois Pork Producers Association,” says IPPA President Cheryl Walsh. “We understand that many stakeholders don’t represent rural districts, and Illinois Bacon Day is a great way for pork producers to connect with legislators on a personal level and share our stories with them.

“Illinois ranks fourth in the United States for pork production and our industry contributes $1.8 billion and over 10,000 jobs to the state’s economy. Our goal is to help stakeholders see the value in what we do and what we bring to the economy by teaching them about our industry. One thing we can all agree on is that we love bacon, and Illinois Bacon Day gives producers the opportunity to discuss the issues currently facing Illinois pig farmers with their legislators.”

Walsh, IPPA Vice President Josh Maschhoff, and IPPA At-Large Directors Bruce Brinkman and Kristi Smith, were in attendance at the event to highlight the daily challenges facing pig farmers such as market fluctuation in the prices of pork (due to supply and demand, international trade and consumer preferences), environmental concerns, (producers are always striving to become more sustainable for future generations), high feed costs (which can account for up to 70% of production costs and various factors like weather, transportation and commodity prices), and preparedness for disease outbreaks.

To show their support for Illinois pig farmers, 19 local restaurants participated in "Illinois Bacon Day" by featuring a bacon or pork special on their menu. Consumers were also challenged to #BringHomeTheBacon and keep the demand for pork products high by adding bacon (or any pork product) to their grocery cart every time they shop. In doing so, they support Illinois farms, 96% of which are family owned.

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