World Pork Expo is worth a look

The 2013 incarnation of the World Pork Expo gets under way in Des Moines Wednesday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and runs through Friday. This annual event brings together pork producers, exhibitors and visitors not just from across Iowa, but also from throughout the nation. Among the 20,000 to 30,000 people the Expo is expected to draw will be a great many pork producers from abroad.

Educational and marketing programs will appeal to many of those who attend this important pork industry event. For others, the more than 450 commercial exhibits will be the draw. The Expo also offers ample opportunities for recreation and camaraderie.

“World Pork Expo always showcases the latest innovations and information, making it the place to be for pork-industry enthusiasts each June,” said Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for the National Pork Producers Council, in a statement previewing this year’s extravaganza. “This is one year you won’t want to miss as the industry celebrates the Expo’s 25th anniversary.”

The NPPC, an entity that conducts public outreach on behalf of 44 affiliated state organizations, owns the Expo and orchestrates this popular show. The organizers say this is the largest pork-industry trade show in the world.

At a time when a still sluggish, but improving, economy is of concern to many Iowans, the Expo offers a particularly welcome opportunity to learn more about the pork industry’s future.

It’s unlikely that anyone who lives in Iowa does not already know that pork production is exceptionally important to the economic vitality of the Hawkeye State. It may come as a surprise, however, that hogs raised in Iowa account for more than 30 percent of U.S. hog production. Iowa ranks as the nation’s top hog-producing state.

The following statistical highlights derived from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture and analysis by Spencer Parkinson of Decision Innovation and experts at Iowa State University underline just how major a factor pork production is to Iowa’s prosperity:

The Iowa pork industry generates more than 39,000 jobs;

The industry’s Iowa payroll is nearly $1 billion annually; and

The overall annual economic impact on Iowa of pork production is about $5 billion.

According to the ISU data, hogs consume 27 percent of Iowa’s corn and 30 percent of the state’s soybeans.

These statistics provide a glimpse of this massive agricultural industry. The World Pork Expo, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary, offers an exceptional opportunity to learn a great deal more.

The Messenger congratulates NPPC on a quarter century of remarkable Expos.