Author Henry Van Dyke noted that "the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best," and such is the case with Operation Main Street, which is helping pork producers and industry supporters speak up for agriculture.
"You don't have to be a professional speaker to get involved with OMS," says Ernie Barnes, director of industry services for the Pork Checkoff. "You just have to be willing to share the pork industry's story with others."
OMS participants gain public speaking experience, receive training on how to deliver a positive industry message to the media and the public, and walk away ready for public presentations. Participants also receive updates on emerging issues facing the pork industry, and have the opportunity to connect with other producers and industry leaders.
OMS 1.0 training will be offered to 20 people prior to the 2011 World Pork Expo, beginning on Tuesday, June 7 at 10 a.m. and running through Wednesday, June 8 at noon. This may be the last OMS training for 2011, says Barnes, who adds that World Pork Expo admission tickets will be provided to all OMS attendees. In addition, a stipend of $250 to assist with travel and lodging will be provided.
If you are interested in participating, contact Mary Wonders, MWonders@pork.org, by May 10.
The Pork Checkoff launched OMS in 2004 to help people across the country upgrade the pork industry's image starting at the vital local level. Through March of 2011, 854 people have completed OMS training and have given more than 4,300 presentations to civic groups and other audiences.
"I enjoy OMS, and it's rewarding to feel like you've made a difference," says Carrie Pollard, an OMS speaker who farms with her husband near Rockford, Ill., and works as a technical services manager for Bethany Animal Hospital in DeKalb, Ill.