SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Harvest is in the air, leaves are starting to turn and Oct. 1 kicked off National Pork Month. October was traditionally when hogs were marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pork producers and share their stories with consumers. Celebrate by eating extra pork this month to support our Illinois pig farmers.
“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer,” says Pam Janssen, Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) President and pig farmer from Minonk, IL. “October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world.”
This year has brought wins and losses to the industry, but a few successes stand out. Let us take time to reflect on the progress made in the pork industry.
Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat, representing 36 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. It provides a plethora of nutritional qualities, including amino acids, vitamins and protein.
Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Pork tenderloin is certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association with its heart-check mark, indicating that it contains less than 6.5 grams of fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat.
Retail Campaigns in Illinois
In the past year IPPA has strengthened connections with grocery retailers in the state to promote pork the product. Specifically, you can find the following specials happening now in honor of Pork Month:
- Hy-Vee: Stuffed pork chop promotion. Store dieticians will be promoting pork through e-newsletters, social media, newspapers and recipes. Pork will be included in all in-store cooking classes.
- County Market: $2 off pork loin and $2 off pork ribs.
- Mariano’s: Specials on boneless pork chops and loin.
- Jewel: Loin special near the end of October.
Japan Trade Deal
Illinois pig farmers commend the recent trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan, which is expected to boost agriculture exports. Japan is the largest customer, by value, for U.S. pork.
Under the agreement, Japan will place tariffs on U.S. agricultural products at levels that apply to members of the CPTPP and will cut tariffs on U.S. pork and beef to reflect current CPTPP levels.
Beginning in 2018, upon realizing the need to personally invest in foreign markets, IPPA began contributing to special projects within U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) current promotions. The mission of USMEF is “to increase the value and profitability of the U.S. beef, pork and lamb industries by enhancing demand for their products in export markets through a dynamic partnership of all stakeholders.”
IPPA has contributed a total of $100,000 checkoff funds to USMEF for a special project in South Korea to increase their demand for U.S. pork. Another $40,000 was invested with a focus on increasing market share in Latin America. Illinois producers understand the need to expand market access, outside of the current market leaders.
As the pork industry continues to evolve, IPPA recognizes the need to focus on the future by finding and educating young talent that will take the helm as tomorrow’s leaders on committees, boards and other leadership positions. To fill this gap, the “Future Leaders” program was created.
The program includes four meetings spanning from May 2020 to fall 2021. A wide range of topics will be covered, including production, regulations, processing, retail marketing and farmer interaction. The program will offer well-rounded knowledge of pork production.
IPPA is now recruiting for the second class. Candidates must be between the ages of 25-40 and have an interest in the pork industry. Applications can be found at ilpork.com are due November 15th.
2020 Pork Ambassador
Applications are now live for the 2020 State Ambassador Internship. The chosen individual will hold the title of State Ambassador for a full year and will work from the Springfield office during the summer of their term May – August 2020.
Main duties of the intern include managing the birthing center during the Illinois State Fair, attending Summer Ag Institutes, a project of their choosing and various other tasks. The internship is education and communication focused. Applications can be found at ilpork.com and are due Oct. 31.
Social Media Advocate Training
Along with the National Pork Board #RealPigFarming team, IPPA will be hosting an interactive one-day social media training on November 26th. This opportunity is being offered expense-free to those interested in being advocates for the pork industry through social media.
Whether it’s a college student, young pig farmer or agribusiness person, there’s something for everyone on the agenda. The day is geared towards continued learning about the industry and ways to best utilize social media. Guest speakers will provide leadership and first-hand experience. Registration is free and can be done in minutes at ilpork.com. Deadline to register is Nov. 12.
Social Presence During Pork Month
Follow IPPA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter during the month of October for special events regarding Pork Month. Blogger and Influencer, Grillin’ with Dad, will be creating three different pork entrees and sharing with his followers throughout October. Follow him @grillin_with_dad on Instagram and Facebook.
Do you have a great pork loin recipe that the world needs to know about? Now is your chance to submit it for the chance of winning free pork for a year from County Market. Starting October 1st at 10:00 am submissions may be made via IPPA’s Facebook page, through October 17th. The two finalists will have their recipe cooked for a panel of judges to determine the overall winner.
This month make a pledge to support Illinois pork production. Try smoking a pork loin, grilling chops or making ham sandwiches for those hard at work harvesting crops. You don’t need an excuse to eat more bacon, but this October consider grabbing an extra package to share with your family, in honor of your local pig farmers.
— Illinois Pork Producers Association
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