Minnesota Pig Farmers to Attend Latin American Product Showcase

Event will showcase benefits of U.S. pork important to Latin American export markets

Randy Spronk, Minnesota, participates in a market tour during the 2016 Latin American Meat Showcase. The tour was held at the Pretelt Gourmet Meats, a high-end butcher shop and restaurant in Panama City that features U.S. meat products.

DES MOINES, IA – June 26, 2018 – Minnesota pig farmers Randy Spronk and John Schwartz will travel to the Dominican Republic to attend the 2018 Latin American Product Showcase this week. The two farmers will participate in a market tour, marketing sessions and networking activities designed to highlight U.S. pork to importers in the rapidly growing Latin American export market.

“The Pork Checkoff has worked hard to promote pork globally, with the assistance of USMEF,” said Randy Spronk, a pig farmer from Edgerton, Minnesota. “This showcase is a great example of that effort, and I’m excited to learn about the many opportunities that U.S. pork will have in this market in the future and see our investment at work firsthand.”

This will be the eighth annual showcase held by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and is expected to be the largest to date with roughly 60 exporting companies and 200 meat buyers from across Central America, South America and the Caribbean in attendance. This event provides U.S. exporters and farmers with an opportunity to visit one-on-one with numerous potential buyers in a single location.

A vital part of the showcase is a market tour where the farmers will visit Mercado de Los Mina, a small food market; Pricesmart Store San Isidro, a store similar to a U.S. grocery store; and Supermarket Store La Sirena San Isidro, a store similar to a U.S. supermarket or big box store.

“As a farmer, it will be beneficial to see the similarities and differences in the retail space here in the Dominican Republic compared to our grocery options in the United States,” said John Schwartz, a pig farmer from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. “I hope to walk away with a better understanding of how pork is being marketed directly to consumers, by retailers, so that we can better supply these customers with the type of products that they want.”

The farmers also will learn about the buying habits of millennials in Latin America and discuss strategies for meat marketing, including price expectations, specific cut opportunities and future menu trends during educational sessions.

Pork Checkoff staff also will attend the Showcase. Craig Morris, vice president of international marketing for the National Pork Board,  will join Spronk and Schwartz in the Dominican Republic for the week.

“Our NPB International Marketing Committee has highlighted the Latin American market as one of paramount importance for our marketing efforts,” Morris said. “Attending the Latin American Product Showcase is an incredible opportunity to see how we can continue to invest and hone our strategy in this region. I’m excited to hear from our farmers in attendance and get their thoughts on what we are doing well, with an eye on the future.”

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit www.pork.org.