This year marks a special event for the World Pork Expo. This is the 25th anniversary of the event, which will be held June 5 through 7 at the Iowa State Fairground in Des Moines. The Expo is brought to you by the National Pork Producer's Council and is the world's largest pork-specific trade show offers educational seminars, breeding-stock shows and sales, and of course, plenty of pork products.
"World Pork Expo always showcases the latest innovations and information, making it the place to be for pork-industry enthusiasts each June," says Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for NPPC. "This is one year you won't want to miss as the industry celebrates the Expo's 25th anniversary. Now's the time to start your travel plans as official World Pork Expo hotels fill up quickly."
Nearly 20,000 pork producers and industry professionals from 38 countries attended the Expo in 2012, and organizers expect a similar showing this year. Last year's event set records for the number of pigs in the Junior National show and the number of meals served at the Big Grill, and featured a one-time event showcasing the world's largest pork burger.
Over 400 U.S. and international commercial exhibitors will showcase the latest pork-production technologies, products and services at the trade show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, Thursday, June 6, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 7. This year's Expo will debut an additional trade-show location, the Agriculture Building, located next to the main entry gate and the Big Grill.
Free business seminars will take place throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday. Seminar topics are designed to provide solutions for on-farm production needs, including marketing options, herd-health protocols, feeding strategies and current issues.
The Junior National swine show, hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, offers a glimpse at future pork industry leaders. Last year, the show set records with 700 juniors from 26 states exhibiting 2,177 hogs. Rounding out the swine exhibits are the purebred, open-class swine shows, followed by a public sale.
The Expo is known for its numerous pork products. Each day, attendees can visit the Big Grill to enjoy a free pork lunch. Last year, the grill masters served a record-setting 10,000 meals.
Thursday afternoon, MusicFest gives attendees a chance to relax, enjoy roast pork and refreshments, and listen to live music.
Online registration is open at the World Pork Expo website. The website also has the latest details about room availability at the official Expo hotels in its "Hotel/Transportation" section. More information is available from World Pork Expo on Facebook, Twitter (#NPPCWPX) or the official app available in the Apple Store, Android Market or Blackberry's App World.
Before the Expo
NPPC is offering two tours for visitors who want a first-hand look at Midwest agriculture before the Expo starts. A two-day tour June 3 through 4 is underwritten by the Illinois Soybean Association, and will display the diversity of U.S. agriculture, from crops to livestock and shipping to agribusiness. The one-day tour, on June 4, will feature the agricultural areas in and around Des Moines. Both include meals on tour days, and free admission to World Pork Expo.
"While there's no shortage of things to see at World Pork Expo, these tours offer an opportunity to gain a more intimate look at Iowa and U.S. agriculture, which is particularly valuable for guests from other countries," says Greg Thornton, NPPC director of producer services. "Tour attendees will be able to visit with farmers and agribusiness experts face to face, and gain real-world perspectives to take back home."
The chance to expand global interaction is what makes the Expo and tours unique, says Randy Spronk, NPPC president and pork producer from Pipestone, Minnesota.
"U.S. pork producers have directly experienced the impact of an expanding and interconnected global market," he says. "It's to everyone's benefit to exchange ideas and learn from each other."
Early registrants receive a discounted tour rate. For the one-day Agribusiness Tour, the cost is $125 per person if registered by May 1, and $150 after. Fee for the two-day, Midwest Agriculture Tour, which includes hotel accommodations on Monday evening, is $300 per person by May 1, and $350 after.
To register for the tours, visit the Expo's website and click on the red registration button. For more details, click on the "Producer" tab at the website, then select "Industry Tour" from the "Events & Activities" pull-down menu, or contact Thornton at Thorntong@nppc.org or 515-278-8012.