Tailgate parties. Harvest meals. Fall bonfires. October is one of our favorite times of the year and the perfect month to celebrate our favorite food – pork. October became known as National Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as an opportunity to celebrate and show pork producers how much we appreciate the important role they play in feeding the world.
“If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer,” says Mike Haag, Illinois Pork Producers President and pig farmer from Emington, Ill. “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.”
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.
Decades of progress have resulted in the United States producing a safer, leaner and more nutritious product than ever before. While our practices have advanced and become more efficient over the years, so have the expectations of consumers. Companies throughout the food chain are being held to higher standards. Pork producers are being called to demonstrate responsible business practices in a wide variety of areas from animal well being to sustainable stewardship.
Here at Farm Journal’s PORK, watch for #PORKtober on social media and join us as we celebrate pork and thank pork producers for their hard work.
Want to join in on the fun? Here are a few tips.
- Share your story.
Face-to-face conversations will always be one of the greatest methods to share your story. But if that isn’t possible, consider how social media can help play a role. Campaigns such as #RealPigFarming are allowing pig farmers to share their story through social media. “It’s encouraging to see so many pig farmers engaged with today’s consumers to explain what they do on the farm every day and why it is important to both themselves and the pigs. We encourage all pig farmers to share how they raise pork,” said Claire Masker, public relations director for the Pork Checkoff.
- Use facts to enhance the conversation.
When people learn the facts about pork production in the United States, they become more confident that pork producers are committed to doing the right thing. But share facts with a bit of caution. For the majority of the “conversation,” stick to your story and your passions. As appropriate, about 20% of the time, sprinkle in facts about the how and the what of what you do. Visit Pork Checkoff’s website for quick facts you can share at www.pork.org/facts.
- Let them know you care.
People want to know that you are care about things that they also care about. It’s o.k. to talk about how you do your job, but always base the conversation around the “why.” Confidence – values and ethics one holds and that can be shared with others – is 3 to 5 times more important than competence, facts or science alone when it comes to growing trust.