Fun facts from 25 years of the World Pork Expo

Did you know that an average of 34 countries are represented at the World Pork Expo?

As the world's largest pork-specific trade show prepares for its 25th anniversary this year, here is a look at other facts surrounding the National Pork Producers Council's three-day event.

  • The World Pork Expo was preceded by the American Pork Congress (APC), which was first held in 1970. The APC combined the National Pork Producers Council annual meeting with the National Swine Industry Conference. It featured a trade show, seminars and the annual delegate business meeting where producers outlined NPPC program and policy direction for the year ahead.
  • The first World Pork Expo was held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines in 1988. There was a desire to separate the delegate session from the trade show and seminar offerings. The annual delegate session moved to the National Pork Forum, which is held each year in March. 
  • World Pork Expo was staged in Springfield, Ill. (1989), and Indianapolis, Ind. (1994, 1997 and 2000) at the respective state fairgrounds.
  • 2001 marks the only year the event was cancelled-- due to concerns about the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease which had surfaced in the United Kingdom. However, the Pork BBQlossal competition and the Golf Outing were still held.
  • In 2002, Des Moines became the permanent home of World Pork Expo; the event has been held in Des Moines for a total of 20 years.
  • The original objective of World Pork Expo was two-fold:

1) To increase non-checkoff revenue (following the 1984 Pork Act and the 1986 Mandatory Pork Checkoff, as checkoff money could not be spent for legislative, regulatory or public policy actions.)

2) To offer a celebration of pork; to showcase all aspects of the industry and the numerous programs that the commodity groups (NPPC and NPB) were conducting.    

  • In the early days, World Pork Expo was targeted and promoted to include consumer participation. Beginning in 2002, it has become a producer-focused event.
  • In 2001, following a 2000 National Pork Checkoff Referendum, NPPC and NPB split into two completely separate groups.

- NPPC receives no checkoff money and is responsible for legislative, regulatory and public policy activities related to the U.S. pork industry.

- NPB collects and distributes checkoff funds and is charged with research, promotion and education activities for the U.S. pork industry. 

  • 2002 ushered in a new exhibitor option the Hospitality Tents. Today, some 50 tents line the main concourse of the Iowa State Fairgrounds, providing allied industry exhibitors a quiet and more intimate meeting space.
  • President George W. Bush attended the 2002 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, where he spoke to about 4,000 producers and enjoyed pork barbeque.
  • Many U.S. secretaries of agriculture, governors, presidential candidates, United States Department of Agriculture officials, trade ambassadors and government dignitaries from the United States and other countries have attended World Pork Expo over the years.

Click here to find out more about the World Pork Expo.



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