October became known as Pork Month because this was the time of the year when the most hogs were traditionally marketed. "Taking pride in pork production and helping consumers to take advantage of the value of pork is what October Pork Month is all about," says Danita Rodibaugh, pork producer from Rensselaer, Ind.
, and the president of the National Pork Checkoff Board.
Rodibaugh says modern-day pork production practices have changed dramatically since the early days in the United States. She says producers now have access to technology and information that wasn't even available during her father's generation.
"Pork production is woven together with other segments of the agriculture community to create the fabric that holds the rural economy together," she says.
For instance, over 57% of the U.S. corn crop last year was used as livestock feed, with pigs consuming nearly 1.2 billion bushels, or about 10% of the crop. And, pork producers purchased the equivalent of 424 million bushels of soybeans, or about 27% of all soybean meal in the United States.
As president of the National Pork Board, Rodibaugh says many of the questions she receives about pork production revolve around the subjects of animal welfare and the environment.
"From an animal welfare standpoint, pork producers know that good care and attention to detail equals good business and is just the right thing to do for the animals. Today's pork producers go to great lengths to ensure our animals are raised in a clean, comfortable and appropriate environment," says Rodibaugh.
"As for the environment, farmers are the original recyclers, growing the crops, feeding the grain to livestock and returning the nutrients to the soil as fertilizer," says Rodibaugh who points to the pork industry's Environmental Stewards award program as an example of what pork producers across the United States are doing to care for the nature resources including the land, air and water.
Rodibaugh says she encourages the general public to get to know a pork producer during October Pork Month. "We are vital members of our communities and want others to understand our business."