World Pork Expo cancelled for second year in a row
By KRISS NELSON
A long lasting tradition that has spanned almost three decades will be cancelled this year, for the second time in a row.
The announcement of the cancellation of the2020 World Pork Expo came last week. The event was originally scheduled for June 3-5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
“I don’t think people were terribly surprised about our World Pork Expo news,” said Jim Monroe, assistant vice president, communications at the National Pork Producers Council. “We are very, very disappointed, and look forward to hosting it next year.”
The NPPC has already announced the dates for the 2021 World Pork Expo to be June 9-11, once again to be held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
“The livelihoods of our producers are a top priority and we made the decision out of a sense of responsibility, obviously, for human health concerns,” said Monroe.
Although making the decision to cancel the event, Monroe said now was the time, if any, to do so.
“We were just getting to the point exhibitors and others involved would start to be putting their plans in motion and begin to really commit to the show. We were able to announce it before they got to that point saving organizations money and effort. I think our timing on it was good,” he said.
Monroe said the NPPC looked at the possibility of postponing the show.
“We thought about holding it later in the year, and for a wide range of reasons, that wasn’t really feasible,” he said. “Among them is, we want to do a great job with the event and trying to make it work later in the year, when there are a lot of other conflicts, you worry about the quality of the show. We feel confident we can put on a great show next year and we are going to get a lot of support to do that,” he said.
The cancellation of the World Pork Expo is rare, and for it to be cancelled two years in a row, is unprecedented.
Last year, Monroe said the event was cancelled out of an abundance of caution due to the outbreak of African swine fever. Prior that that, he said a cancellation was done in the late 1990s due to a foot and mouth disease outbreak that occurred in England.
In regards to last year’s cancellation, although it was believed there would be very little risk of the event opening a window for the potential spread of African swine fever into the United States, they still thought it would be best to cancel.
“It was analyzed, including from folks outside of the National Pork Producers Council experts looking in it was believed there was very little chance that having the show would have been the reason for African swine fever getting into the United States, but again, it was widely supported just because, obviously, unless it’s zero risk, it’s just not worth taking it,” he said. “Those who have participated in the show have been very supportive of the decisions made both last year and this year.”
The World Pork Expo, Monroe said is an important source of revenue for the NPPC, but said regardless, their work will be able to continue.
“Fortunately, we have great support from our members and we are on very solid financial footings, so the advocacy work that we do for the industry continues unabated, but it still remains an important source of revenue and we hope to have a great show next year and I think we will.”
Monroe said the World Pork Expo attracts nearly 20,000 people in over three days throughout every aspect of the pork industry.
“They gather to introduce new innovations, introduce new products, participate in education and training programs and just to generally network within the industry and that focus will be the same next year,” he said.
Monroe said holding the World Pork Expo in Des Moines each year is a logical choice.
“Iowa is the nation’s largest pork producing state; the pork industry is, in many ways, led from Iowa. It’s where we are headquartered and it’s where so many of our great producers are based, where so many that supply our producers with feed, services are based it’s the epicenter of the pork industry in the United States, so it’s a logical place to hold the show,” he said.
The swine show
After last year’s cancellation, The National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigree Swine and American Berkshire Association chose to continue on with the swine show. This year, they are planning to do the same, only with a location change.
“In the fall of 2019 when National Pork Producers Council was deciding to move forward with the World Pork Expo, there were several meetings between the National Pork Producers Council and National Swine Registry it was a mutual decision on both parties to hold the event separate,” said Cassie Godwin, digital content manager and Seedstock EDGE editor. “So, it was decided that in 2020 the National Pork Producers Council would host the World Pork Expo in Des Moines and that National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigree Swine and American Berkshire Association would host The Exposition swine show in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 7-13, 2020.”
Godwin said the reason that decision was made out of the best interests for U.S. pork industry.
“National Swine Registry and National Pork Producers Council have a great relationship a very strong relationship,” she said. “Both parties just felt that to continually uphold the integrity of the swine health of the U.S. swine industry and mitigate and drastically decrease any chance of any sort of foreign animal disease, that it would be best to hold those two events separate.”
Although the World Pork Expo and the swine show appeared to go hand in hand, they were independent events, Monroe said that were co-located together.
“There were a lot of reasons, putting COVID aside, African swine fever is still something we are working very hard to prevent from entering the United States, that doesn’t change,” he said. “I think not having live pigs at the show, it’s just another safeguard for the overall U.S. swine herd. We were going to introduce some other biosecurity measures, just to further mitigate any potential risk, although we think it is extremely low, it was one of the decisions made by the Swine Registry to separate the events.”
Godwin said as of now they are planning on holding The Exposition, however, they continue to monitor the situation surrounding the spread of COVID-19.
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