You don’t have to be a pig farmer to appreciate the multitude of offerings available at the 2019 World Pork Expo on June 5-7 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. From the world’s largest pork-specific trade show to innovative educational sessions and networking opportunities for pork professionals to amazing food and fun, the World Pork Expo is the place to be.
Each year, more than 20,000 pork producers and representatives visit the event to attend educational seminars, learn about the latest products, services and technology within the trade show and share ideas and perspectives with their peers.
Erin Brenneman, director of public relations for Brenneman Pork and day one farrowing specialist from Washington, Iowa, says the World Pork Expo isn’t just for swine enthusiasts, it’s for everyone.
“Last year one of my friends, a dairy farmer, was speaking to a group of people at the World Pork Expo about advocacy in agriculture,” Brenneman says. “I had taken her around to visit some of the tents and booths. She was shocked at how welcoming and warm everyone was to her – pig farmer or not!”
There’s no doubt that education and innovation are key reasons why many attend the World Pork Expo. For Jason Schneider, a technical consultant with DNA Genetics from Waverly, Iowa, it’s a perfect environment for learning more about swine production and keeping up with the newest processes in the industry.
Rob Christine, producer and state manager with the National Pork Board from Bethel, Mo., says this is the only event that brings all of the segments of swine production together – from a one-sow operation to the largest packer, exporter, producer, etc.
“Expo has something for everyone, regardless of your operation’s size or whether you’re an owner, grower, employee, veterinarian or allied industry representative,” adds David Herring, NPPC president and pork producer from Lillington, N.C.
Still, the people and barbeque are the main reasons Brenneman returns year after year.
“I truly see the pork industry as a big family and World Pork Expo is just one of those big family reunions we get to have throughout the year,” she says. “I enjoy the networking opportunities – getting to visit with the people I may only converse with over social channels and actually see them in the flesh. And of course, all the amazing food.”
From the expansive indoor and outdoor trade show with more than 500 U.S. and international companies displaying products and services to free educational and informational seminars on current issues that producers face on and off the farm, now’s the time to start mapping out your visit to the show. Here are a few additional events you won’t want to miss:
• Junior National — The World Pork Expo Junior National, hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, kicks off Expo week with activities on Mon., June 3. In its 16 years, this youth show has grown into one of the nation’s largest youth events. More than 1,500 exhibitors from 32 states and 3,500 hogs are expected for this year’s show combining educational activities and certification programs with swine judging, live competitions and showmanship.
• Open Show — On Fri., June 7, the open show, presented by the National Swine Registry, features hundreds of crossbred and purebred boars and gilts from throughout the U.S. A breeding stock sale rounds out the live-hog events on Sat., June 8.
• Pre-Expo tour — A two-day, Midwest Agricultural Tour takes place ahead of Expo, beginning on the morning of Mon., June 3, through Tue., June 4. Participants will travel across Iowa into Illinois and Indiana, for a firsthand look at crop and pork production, farm equipment manufacturing and commodity shipping.
• NPPC hospitality tent — Expo offers an opportunity to visit one-on-one with NPPC board members and staff to gain perspective on legislation, regulation and public policy issues that impact pork production.
• MusicFest — Presented on Thursday evening, this social event provides an opportunity for visitors to relax, enjoy some free live music and refreshments, while interacting with their peers. This year will feature country singer/songwriter Jake McVey and the crowd-pleasing cover band The Pork Tornadoes.
• Big Grill — More than 10,000 free pork lunches are served during the three days of Expo. Plan to stop by from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to enjoy some tasty pork.