A record-setting trade show, expanded seminar lineup, elite swine shows, and an abundance of delicious pork are all part of the 2018 World Pork Expo, June 6-8, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) since 1987, Expo has become the must-see event for anyone involved in the U.S. or global pork business.
“As we mark 30 years of Expo, it’s exciting to see how the event has evolved and grown,” says Jim Heimerl, NPPC president and producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “It not only reflects the vibrancy of the U.S. pork industry, but also the connectedness of the global marketplace. For anyone involved in pork production, Expo is a wonderful opportunity to discover new technologies, exchange ideas and plan for the future.”
Organizers expect approximately 20,000 producers, employees, industry specialists and other pork professionals, including 1,000 international visitors, to participate in Expo’s three days.
More Products, More Companies, More Exhibits
From the beginning, Expo has featured the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, but this year, it’s even bigger. New to Expo, the Jacobson Exhibition Center (JEC) will join the Varied Industries building to display products, services and technologies from more than 500 U.S. and international companies.
“This will be our biggest trade show ever,” says Doug Fricke, Expo director of trade show marketing for NPPC. “Adding JEC and the expanded space also allows for bigger and more elaborate displays; companies are really rolling out the red carpet. All aspects of pork production, from the ground up, will be represented within the trade show.”
Visitors also will find more outdoor exhibits throughout the fairgrounds. On display around the swine, sheep and cattle barns will be products and services associated with live-hog shows. In all, Fricke estimates Expo’s trade show will exceed 360,000 square feet, making it more than 40,000 square feet larger than in 2017.
This year’s expansion extends to the hospitality tents, which will increase from 52 to 60, giving allied industry and producers more opportunities for one-on-one interaction.
Trade show doors will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 8.
Hog Shows and Youth Educational Events
The World Pork Expo Junior National is another event that continues to grow and draw participants from across the nation. This premier youth live-hog exhibition begins on Monday, June 4. In addition to show ring competition, the event includes judging contests, certification programs, Skillathon and other educational activities.
Hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, this year’s Junior National has set another record with 1,450 youth from 34 states entered to participate. That compares to 1,050 exhibitors from 32 states in 2017. The final hog numbers won’t be determined until the actual event but are expected to exceed the 2,500 pigs exhibited last year.
Also taking place in the swine barn on Friday, June 8, is the open show, presented by the National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigree Swine and American Berkshire Association. Divisions include Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Poland China, Spotted, Yorkshire and crossbred breeding swine, with a sale on Saturday morning, June 9.
Free Seminars and Entertainment
Educational opportunities have long been a centerpiece of Expo. This year, a record 20 seminars are on the schedule for Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7. Throughout both days, experts will present the latest innovations and insights into pork production and management at the PORK Academy and Business Seminars. Pork producers, their employees and other pork professionals will have access to experts on a wide range of topics, including sow productivity, water quality and manure management, antibiotic use and resistance, optimizing piglet growth, export and domestic pork marketing strategies, and much more.
MusicFest lights up the stage on Thursday, June 7, from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. Presented by NPPC, Expo visitors can enjoy a summer evening with the free concert and lots of grilled pork. First up will be the R&B and classic country sounds of Josh Hoyer, a Nebraska native and contestant on season 12 of The Voice. Headlining the evening is The Big Noise, led by Cactus Moser, a musically adventurous group that has recorded and toured with Wynonna Judd over the past five years.
The Big Grill, another long-time Expo staple, will serve free pork lunches from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. all three days of the show. Manned by Iowa pork producers and industry personnel, the Big Grill dishes up an estimated 10,000 pork lunches each year.
Don't Miss Out
The final countdown to the 2018 World Pork Expo is underway, but there’s still time to make plans to attend.
“If you haven’t been to Expo in a while, this is the year to make a return trip. You’ll be amazed to see how much it’s changed,” says Heimerl. “Expo is a great place to discover what’s new, as well as learn and compare what you will need for your business in the years to come.”
Online registration is available until 5 p.m. CST on May 31. The pre-Expo registration fee is $10 for adults and children 12 years and older, $1 for children ages 6 to 11, and no charge for children 5 years and younger. Onsite registration takes place at Gate 15, with an entrance fee of $20 per adult and $3 for children ages 6 to 11 years. In all cases, the price includes entry for all three days of Expo. A special rate of $10 is available for adults arriving on Friday.
For all the latest updates and details to plan your visit, including room availability at official World Pork Expo hotels, maps and exhibitors, go to Expo’s website. Also connect with Expo by following us on Twitter and Facebook and tagging your posts with the hashtag #WPX18.
Be sure to download the World Pork Expo app, available on Google Play and the Apple store. It will help you navigate the fairgrounds, identify exhibitors that you want to visit and keep you on schedule.
The 30th World Pork Expo has something for everyone, so don’t miss out on everything pig, June 6-8 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.