Dr. Howard Hill, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president, veterinarian and producer from Cambridge, Iowa officially kicked off the 26th annual World Pork Expo 2014 (WPX) during a media press conference. He noted that WPX is the largest trade show and exhibition in the world and attendance was nearly 20,000 people over the three day show. Last year there were people from 38 difference countries and the numbers were nearly identical this year. Not only is the show growing, said Hill, but NPPC memberships and budgets are growing as well with 80 new voluntary funders.Comments from Howard Hill
However, main focus on this press conference was to give media (and producers) an update on two important issues: trade and SIP. During the past 18 months, NPPC has kicked off an education campaign focused on retailers and restaurants, associations, and more and to date, they have met with more than 100. Dallas Hockman, NPPC vice president, counsel for international affairs noted that they were given a welcome reception and identified there is a true need and desire for companies to understand where our protein/food comes from and how our food is produced – i.e. sustainability – especially as food activists continue to ramp up their campaign.
“We have a saying we use a lot, the era of don’t ask don’t tell is over,” said Hockman. “It’s our challenge, its our opportunity to engage these individuals with potential issues that may come up in the news and that activist groups might be using to talk about the commitment our industry has; why it is we choose to do what we do; what the production practices are; and what the rationale is with that.”
Hockman added that we have a simple message: we very much support choice.
Learn more about NPPC’s educational efforts by listening to Dallas’ remarks: Comments from Dallas Hockman
Jarrod Sutton, the vice president for channel marketing for the National Pork Board (NPB) has been working with NPPC in this educational initiative said that they are becoming more proactive and aggressive in reaching out to the food change more than in the past. He noted that a key learning was that those in the retailing and food industry don’t have as much knowledge about how pigs become pork as they had hoped. This resulted in McDonald’s in January of 2012 announcing they were no longer going to purchase pork producing using gestation stalls.
With a blow back throughout the industry, Sutton said they began this new education campaign with channel partners in earnest and they call it “Transparency to a T” or how pigs become pork. The goal is threefold:
- Engage food chain partners at a new level and ensure they become a credible source of information as it relates to pork industry production practices and potential vulnerabilities.
- Become a partner in crafting consumer facing messages
- Long-term continue to build confidence in pork.
Learn more about NPB’s involvement with the “Transparency to a T” campaign by listening to Jarrod’s remarks: Comments from Jarrod Sutton
You can listen to the full press conference including question and answer session on AgNewsWire.com.