By Jan Jorgensen
While U.S. pork was the center-of-the-plate star at the recent 22nd World Meat Congress, the “true meat” of the event was the opportunity to connect with 700 key international stakeholders from over 30 countries, according to Bill Luckey, a Columbus, Nebraska, pork producer who chairs the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee.
The conference, held every two years, is the world’s premier gathering of pork, beef, lamb and veal industry leaders. For the first time in over 20 years, the United States hosted the event, held May 30 to June 1 in Dallas.
“The opportunity for International Marketing Committee and National Pork Board members to connect with people around the globe was invaluable,” Luckey said. “We cemented ties with important international contacts and built new bridges. The insights we gained will help grow new markets and increase demand for U.S. pork in existing ones.”
Luckey and the other producers highlighted U.S. pork’s versatility and high quality – both of keen interest to export buyers.
“We have so much to be proud when it comes to how we produce pork,” said Jan Archer. The Goldsboro, North Carolina, producer and International Marketing Committee member attended the congress.
“Our international consumers want greater visibility and traceability of pork products,” Archer said. “We had the opportunity to talk about the We CareSM initiative, which provides farm-to-fork transparency in a meaningful, rigorous way.”
Attendees were interested to learn about U.S. pork producers’ mantra of doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet.
We Care Resonates
“The spirit of continuous improvement is alive and thriving on U.S. pig farms,” Archer said. “Demonstrating our commitment to animal care, worker welfare, public health, food safety, community engagement and environmental stewardship gives us a significant competitive edge.”
The Pork Board and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) teamed as a sponsor of the World Meat Congress. This included educational sessions and a booth that highlighted U.S. pork’s high quality and that shared the We Care and sustainability story of the nation’s pig farmers.
Starting with the opening reception and continuing with the pork-themed luncheon, guests feasted on U.S. pork prepared in creative and innovative ways. Stephen Gerike, assistant vice president of food chain marketing for the Pork Checkoff, worked with USMEF to create recipes featuring U.S. pork cuts.
“We wanted U.S. pork to be front and center,” Luckey said.