World Meat Congress

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Dallas, Texas hosted the World Meat Congress and over 700 participants from throughout the globe. The National Pork Board was well represented and was a sponsor of the event. In this edition of Pork Pod, we hear from two pig farmers, Derrick Sleezer of Cherokee, Iowa and Karen Richter of Montgomery, Minnesota. Derrick and Karen participated in the World Meat Congress and offer insight into this unique event.


Don Wick


Derrick Sleezer, pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa

Karen Richter, pig farmer from Montgomery, Minnesota




Don Wick: 00:04 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines, Iowa, this is Pork Pod. Pork Pod a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry, the Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Checkoff. And today we focus in on the World Meat Congress, taking place this past week in Dallas, Texas. Our first guest Derrik Sleezer, a past president of the National Pork Board, a pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. Derrik, let’s begin by way of introduction. Tell us a bit more about this World Meat Congress itself.

Derrick Sleezer: 00:38 This is the very first time I attended the World Meat Congress, but it is a very large event. I think they got almost 700 registered participants. It brings together a lot of people from 46 different countries and so it really brings the people together that have really effect a trade and basically are very active in the trading products and meat.

Don Wick: 00:59 So what kinds of things are highlighted? What, what’s the focus of the meetings?

Derrick Sleezer: 01:05 The focus of the meetings we’ve been learning about a consumer trends, what, what consumers are wanting how they are looking at each market where the future trends are going to be had the, had a speaker, did a great job of talking about how to look at the consumers as they’re, as they’re changing the millennials and the Gen Z’s and all of those things that are, uh, how to come about and look at where the they’re going to be and what their buying habits are going to be and how to best engage that group to make sure that they, that they liked the product.

Don Wick: 01:45 So with the changing demographic, how does work fit into that consumer mix?

Derrick Sleezer: 01:50 Oh, we think pork is, is greatly, uh, positioned to take advantage of the new consumer trends. As we look at, make sure that we’re continually innovating new products, new menu items, helping people understand how to cook with the proper cooking temperature of 145 and making sure that we can share all the great stories of flavor and the basically a lifestyle. What pork can read to the consumer about how much is and how enjoyable it is to eat and how easily it is prepared into two different dishes.

Don Wick: 02:24 Do the other countries, the other participants from other parts of the world have similar issues that we have here in the US?

Derrick Sleezer: 02:32 Yes, It is really interesting as you look at what, how they put this together, that it isn’t just a one country challenge. And so everybody’s evolving as, one of the meetings they talked about in China, they’re actually setting up individual seating stations because before they used it in the way they cook the food, that wasn’t a normal process and now they’re, they’re continually adapting to how their society is changing. And it’s really just very interesting in all the different pieces that there’s a lot of innovative people that are continuing to go looking and using products and new ways to, to fit we’re where we’re going in the future.

Don Wick: 03:13 Derrik Sleezer, we turn to Karen Richter, a pig farmer from Montgomery, Minnesota, also a past president of the National Pork Board. Karen, when you look at this event, who, who’s really the audience?

Karen Rickter: 03:23 A lot of the foreign attendees are importers and meat buyers and so it’s been a great chance as a pork producer to get to meet with our customers and um, to, you know, talk about our farms and what we do every day and all the steps that we do to provide a wholesome, nutritious quality product for our customers overseas.

Don Wick: 03:49 You see, events like this can help increase in US exports, Pork exports?

Karen Rickter: 03:55 Pork and beef is representative here. The US Meat Export Federation meetings were held at the start of the congress. And so it’s been a great opportunity to, to make those connections and um, you know, to, to talk about the common interests, the challenges the program has really focused on, um, not only, you know, trade in general with dignitaries from numerous countries and governments. And today’s focus is the Friday agenda really zeroed in on innovation and technologies and, and what’s coming in and available will be available to us in the future.

Don Wick: 04:42 Is there things we can learn from some of the international guests that are here as well as far as innovation?

Karen Rickter: 04:50 The questions have been great. Um, uh, just came out of a session. I’m looking at blockchain and whole genome sequencing and gene editing and, you know, looking at where we are now, what the future capabilities are and lots of great questions from, you know, is where are these, how do overseas customers or how you know, how the data and how this, these capabilities can be shared between the countries and access by other countries. So I’m very, very good questions. Very good dialogues, you know, with um, with the blockchain and looking at our are changing consumer base as we move, um, you know, from our generation or generation x, the millennials and the generation z and, and um, so that has been a big focus of yesterday and, and first thing this morning and a lot of information being shared in relationships, made.

Don Wick: 06:02 A lot political rhetoric on when it relates to trade as of late. Does this audience kind of moved past that and look at the trade from maybe a higher level?

Karen Rickter: 06:12 Well, our speakers yesterday were from the US Department of Ag, um, we had, um, Mexican officials here and I’m from the EU, so the, the issuance of the terrorists and the retaliation measures were the dominant topic and talking about the need for the WTO and things like that, you know, all of those things are affecting us here at home. Trade is so important to pork producers to me and my family is a pork producer. Um, you know, going from record setting exports last year and $53.47 value of every hog that goes out the door being directly tied to exports. It’s, um, it’s a big concern.

Don Wick: 07:10 Karen Richter and Derek sleazier. As we recap the World Meat Congress. Thanks to you for listening to this addition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit