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IPPA taking message to Main Street

By Staff | Mar 23, 2015

By KRISS NELSON

jknelson@frontiernet.net

FORT DODGE – The Iowa Pork Producers Association will be taking its message of humane treatment of its animals to Main Streets in the state and to non-pork industries.

Rod Lehman, owner-manager of Swine Graphics Enterprises in Webster City, and a member of the IPPA public relations committee, told Webster County Pork Producers on March 9 that IPPA will be “more focused and proactive on a grass roots outreach program.”

Operation Main Street is designed to raise pork industry speakers from among producers, creating more face-to-face opportunities to tell pork’s story.

“Face-to-face opportunities are so much better,” said Lehman. “You talk to them, tell them what you do, where you come from. It is just a huge impact.”

Goals the IPPA public relations committee include trying something new – identifying five to 10 non-pork industry conventions or gatherings in large Iowa markets and provide strategic monetary sponsorship in return for letting the pork producers tell their story at the events.

Lehman expects sponsorship to include providing promotional material, serving pork at their luncheons and having 3- to 5-minute windows to address crowds of between 300 to 3,000 people.

“This is a brand new concept, and hopefully we can possibly get to people that don’t generally understand pork production,” said Lehman.

Lehman said as an industry, producers need to continue to “play offense and get tougher,” and stop explaining what they do and rather keep explaining why they do it.

He said producers must use emotion to promote pork.

Lehman told the individuals to lead with passion and develop their own elevator speech.

“Everyone should develop a speech, 30 seconds, to tell what you do and to help promote the industry,” said Lehman.

Those principles, Lehman said, include producing safe and nutritious food, protecting the well-being of animals, protecting the public health, providing a safe workplace, making improving communities and safeguarding the land.

Animal shelters

Lehman said the committee also lends support for strategic partners including the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, the U.S. Ranchers Association, Iowa Food and Family Project, local animal shelters and the Children’s Museum of Siouxland, in Sioux City.

With new relationships building between IPPA and animal shelters, Lehman said, the board is hoping to keep the fight up against the Humane Society of the United States.

“We need to stand up with our animal shelters and say we care for our animals, and they are important to us,” Lehman said.

Gregg Hora, District 2 director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association and vice president of financial resources for IPPA’s board, said information exchanges and grilling events are scheduled with Almost Home, an animal shelter in Fort Dodge.

“We would like more opportunities to interface with those that aren’t directly involved with a producer,” Hora said. “We have a relationship with Almost Home.

“We need to get our message out to those that love pets, that we also love to take care of our pigs in a caring, humane way, and we will be able to get our message out by speaking with those through the relationship with Almost Home.”

County producers donated $1,000 toward heartworm testing at events sponsored by Almost Home.

Webster County producers will also be promoting pork during RAGBRAI’s overnight stop in Fort Dodge on July 20 and the city’s annual Shellabration event.

Hora said he is especially excited for the possibilities of interaction at RAGBRAI.

“It’s not about the money, but more for interfacing with bike riders from all across the nation,” he said.

The banquet featured pork loin prepared by Chef Kevin Moore, of The Cellar Restaurant.

Moore was one of 12 chefs invited to compete during the Iowa Pork Congress held in January during the “Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance Reception.”Hora also introduced the 2015 pork princess, Micaela Fevold, of Gowrie.

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