The 2012 World Pork Expo attracted nearly 20,000 pork producers and industry leaders from 38 countries to Des Moines, Iowa, for the world's largest pork-specific trade show.
Over three days, the event offered seminars, management information, and a trade show. Sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council, this year's World Pork Expo set records for the number of pigs in the Junior National show and the quantity of meals served at the Big Grill, and featured the creation of the world's largest pork burger during its MusicFest.
"People attending World Pork Expo this year were some of the most analytical and conscientious producers I've met, and they are serious about the industry," said R.C. Hunt, NPPC president from Wilson, N.C. "They appreciated hearing about what's happening with pork production."
World's largest pork-specific trade show
The trade show buildings and outside exhibits were crowded throughout World Pork Expo as attendees viewed exhibitor displays.
"The crowd was great Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with many producers considering expansion and remodels," said Brian Rieck, product manager for AP, a swine-equipment company based in Assumption, Ill. "We valued the chance to reconnect with customers, show our new products and hear feedback that enables us to help producers find solutions. This Expo is the best show we've had in years."
Debbie Schoenbeck, owner of ITSI Provisions, a Walworth, Wis., company that provides animal-health and swine-reproduction supplies, also talked about how Expo enables pork producers and companies to connect.
"This year's Expo was phenomenal," Schoenbeck said. "Attendance exceeded our expectations and producers were very positive."
Setting new records
Once again, the World Pork Expo Junior National set a record for the number of pigs exhibited in the pedigreed barrow and gilt shows hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred. More than 700 junior exhibitors from 26 states competed with 2,177 head, a 25% increase from 2011.
Expo set another record by grilling the world's largest pork burger, made with 260 pounds of pork and a 40-pound bun. Sponsors Hog Slat, Newton Grove, N.C., and the NPPC donated half of the pork burger to be served as pork sandwiches in Des Moines-area homeless shelters; the rest was enjoyed by Expo-goers during MusicFest.
NPPC President Hunt was also impressed with the time both Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds spent with producers at Expo.
It is very special to have this type of support for the work we do as pork producers," he said.
As this year's Expo went into the record books, NPPC announced dates for the 2013 World Pork Expo, which will celebrate the event's 25th anniversary. It will take place June 5-7 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.