Before hand-held games and in-car movies, parents tried to ward off the “Are we there yet?” question on road trips by keeping kids busy playing 20 Questions, I Spy or the License Plate Game, with the winner spotting plates from the most states. I couldn’t help but think of the latter game while attending World Pork Expo June 8 to 10 in Des Moines, Iowa. Just a quick pass through the parking lot showed cars from Minnesota to Texas and from California to New York. The more than 20,000 pork producers and ag professionals that attended also represented 48 countries around the world.At Expo, the Pork Checkoff sponsored several activities that addressed the “Are we there yet?” question when it comes to pork producers doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet. The Checkoff debuted its updated Pork Quality Assurance® program, which more fully incorporates the industry’s six We CareSM ethical principles and the role of caretakers.
Also at the three-day event, the Pork Checkoff continued to lead the conversation about responsible antibiotic use and to build awareness of the new antibiotic rules that will take effect Jan. 1, 2017. At the Checkoff booth, producers learned more about the changes and could sign a pledge vowing to be ready. Two of the many who did so were pork producers Rod Leman and Alicia Wittrop.
“We need to do the right thing every day in our barns, including using antibiotics responsibly,” said Leman, of Swine Graphics, Webster City, Iowa. “And we need to share with consumers how we raise pigs.”
Wittrop, who raises Berkshire show pigs and pork, agreed, saying, “We need to be an open book to consumers, with us all doing our part.”
With producers’ unwavering dedication, the pork industry will never truly complete its journey of continuous improvement — and that’s just the way it should be.