The Indiana State Fair opened Friday with the not-so-familiar site of a giant circus tent, keeping with the theme this year, Step Right Up! to The GREATEST 17 days of Summer. More familiar on day one is hot air balloons and the Indiana Pork ham breakfast. That breakfast means a lot to the state’s pork producers, including past president Heather Hill from Greenfield.
“It truly is a who’s who of Indiana agriculture,” she said. “We have people from all facets of agriculture, not just pork producers. It really brings agriculture together and I can’t think of many events where you can say your have the governor, the Lt. governor, both senators are here from Washington D.C. We have the Indianapolis mayor and many other state elected officials, so it really just embodies what agriculture is all about. We’re all one big family working towards one common goal and that’s to feed our families as well as everyone else’s, and that’s what the ham breakfast represents to me.”
The ham breakfast each year brings out the funny in officials like Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, and Governor Eric Holcomb saves his best material for the event, not to mention his love for pork in any recipe.
“We are very luck in Indiana. Over the years we’ve had very supportive governors, and Governor Holcomb was great with a lot of pork jokes but definitely enjoys his bacon and wants to support our industry. It’s always great to know that we have such good allies in elected places that really can have an impact and work with us on our industry, and so it’s great to know that not only do those people want to come to events like this, but they want to interact with us. They want to eat the product that we produce.”
Hill also serves on the board of the national pork checkoff, where the work to promote and research their product includes finding ways to reach millennials.
“I think it’s just finding ways to interact with them and connect with them,” she explained. “I look at my children that don’t fall into the millennial category, but my kids can’t imagine a world without a cell phone, and so it’s just having recipes available at a fingertip that are easy. People want convenience and meals that are easy and pork is such a versatile product.”
Hear more in the full HAT interview:Heather-Hill
The annual event is hosted by the Indiana pork producers, and again this year a check was presented by First Farmers Bank and Trust to Indiana Pork’s Million Meals program in the amount of $10,000. The program allows pork meals to be provided to Hoosiers in need through the partnership with Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.