Indiana pork producers started returning home over the weekend from World Pork Expo in Iowa. Nearly 20,000 pork producers and industry experts from throughout the world filled the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines this week for the world’s largest pork-specific trade show. World Pork Expo offers the latest information about pork marketing and management, legislative updates, animal health, environmental topics, and other topics affecting pork production.
While many went for the seminars and trade shows and some for the world’s largest pork burger, a few went to participate in and graduate from The Pork Leadership Institute. Hoosier Pork Producer Emily Gaskill said the program has helped her become a better leader in her industry and community. The program is a cooperative venture between the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council. It features training sessions, trips to Washington, DC, and even international travel. Gaskill says you also learn a lot about the pork industry, outside of just raising pigs, “It is a very good program, and I have learned a lot about the pork industry and had the chance to network with other pork producers all over the country.” Hoosier producer Paul Sheldon, who also participated in the program, says the training helps producers become better communicators, “We need to get our voice out and let people know what we are doing and that we are doing the right thing.” Upon graduation, participants understand the roles of the two organizations and will have developed the skills necessary to help lead an ever changing pork industry and to tell the pork industry’s story from Main Street to the nation’s Capital.
The annual Expo features more than 400 commercial exhibits, business seminars, and a new product tour. “Ever since I first attended World Pork Expo 25 years ago, each June I look forward to rubbing shoulders with the very best pork producers and industry leaders,” says R.C. Hunt, NPPC president, Wilson, NC. “They come from throughout the world to provide research updates and share experiences from their own operations … all in a fun, family-friendly environment.”