The massive light displays that greet you at New York City’s Times Square are always impressive, especially if you’re like me and grew up on a farm near a town with one traffic light (Audubon, Iowa). Keith Schoettmer, named America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM, recently made his first trip to New York City on behalf of the nation’s pork producers. The city of bright lights and millions of people offered an ideal venue to share producers’ commitment to responsible pork production.
It was fitting that a Bacon Brothers concert, showcasing actor Kevin Bacon and his brother, Michael, capped off this summer’s grand opening celebration of Fair Oaks Farm’s Pork Education Center in Indiana… and not just because of the duo’s last name. The ag community can take a cue from the well-known “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, which measures how closely the actor is linked to another celebrity.
At this year’s World Pork Expo, held June 3-5 in Des Moines, Iowa, Pork Checkoff events highlighted the innovation and creativity that pork producers have long demonstrated. From enhancing the daily care of animals in their barns to finding new ways to connect with customers, the focus remains on doing a better job.
The pork industry chalked up some pretty impressive achievements last year. Some of these successes included the launch of the Common Swine Industry Audit, exports that again topped $6 billion, key research findings to help fight PEDV and creative new ways to share today’s pork production methods with consumers.
Bringing safe, nutritious pork products to America’s tables has always been the focus of the nation’s pork producers. But with consumers’ increasing interest in how the food on their tables is raised, farmers also have made it a priority to connect with consumers by sharing their stories and facts about pork production today.
Since 1995, pork operations from across the country have been honored as Environmental Steward award winners (see list on page 12). From Minnesota to Oklahoma and from California to North Carolina, the size and type of the winning farms have varied widely. However, they are united in their shared focus on safeguarding the environment while promoting the well-being of people and pigs.