Right now is a great time to fire up the grill for a pork feast and stock up on everything from pork chops to loins to roasts.
"Pork is a real price value, and it is a healthy part of a balanced diet," says David Merrell, a farmer from St. Edward who produces corn and pork and a member of the Nebraska Corn Board. "We're fortunate that so many family farmers produce pork in the state that the rest of us can enjoy and feel good about eating."
Merrell says pork loin, for example, is very lean and is an excellent source of protein. "It's also great way to get important vitamins and minerals, from vitamin B6 to zinc," he adds. "Pork fits in so many different recipes, it's full of flavor and versatile."
"We focus on providing shelter, fresh water, high-quality feed and good care," he says. "That's good for farmers because animals stay healthy, and for those who love pork because they know it came from a farmer who cares."
Besides meeting the needs of people in the United States, farmers in Nebraska and across the country also supply pork to people in countries around the world, from Mexico to South Korea to Japan.
"With 94% of the world's population outside the United States, it is important for our farmers, who are so good at what they do, to supply a quality protein like Nebraska pork to markets around the world," says Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. "This is especially true as the global middle class grows and looks to add more protein to their diets."
The U.S. Meat Export Federation is an organization that conducts activities and promotions to encourage U.S. pork and beef sales around the globe. USMEF often works directly with consumers to introduce them to U.S. pork and beef, but also assists retailers and restaurants with promotions and information they need.
"It's always better to export higher value products like Nebraska pork than commodity grain. It is much better for our economy to add value locally and process that pork locally," Hutchens says. "This is why we've supported USMEF since the group's founding three decades ago. The more pork we export the stronger the industry is here at home, and that's good for everyone."
"There are about 3.2 million hogs in Nebraska," he said. "That translates into hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity, from equipment to feed, from a larger tax base to thousands of jobs in dozens of different sectors. The livestock industry is critical to not only rural Nebraska, but the state as a whole."