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World Pork Expo is worth a look

By Staff | May 29, 2009

The 21st 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 only from across Iowa but from throughout the nation. Among the 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 1,000 exhibits will be the draw. The event also offers ample opportunities for recreation and camaraderie.

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

At a time when an economic downturn is of concern to many Iowans, the expo offers a particularly welcome opportunity to learn more about the pork industry’s future.

“Given the unprecedented global economic instability, this year’s World Pork Expo will be an especially important opportunity to come together as an industry,” Don Butler, NPPC president, said in a statement announcing details about this important show.

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 25 percent of U.S. hog production. Iowa ranks as the nation’s top hog-producing state.

The following highlights from a recent statistical overview of the pork industry, developed by the economics department of Iowa State University, underline just how major a factor pork production is to Iowa’s prosperity:

  • The Iowa pork industry generates more than 63,000 jobs;
  • The industry’s Iowa payroll is more than $2 billion annually; and
  • The overall annual economic impact on Iowa of pork production is $12 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 offers an exceptional opportunity to learn a great deal more.

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