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International trade, disease and labor top priority list at Pork Expo

 
By DOUG SCHMITZ
Iowa Correspondent

DES MOINES, Iowa – A panel discussion on international trade, foreign animal disease and labor issues led by National Pork Producers Council experts highlighted events at the 2022 World Pork Expo, held June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Reasonable public policy that preserves producers’ ‘freedom to operate,’ ensures our animals are healthy and have access to a reliable pipeline of workers, and expands markets for our products is essential to building a sustainable future,” said Terry Wolters, National Pork Producers Council president and a panelist, who owns Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minn.
Sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council in Des Moines and billed as the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, the 34th World Pork Expo had an estimated 12,000 attendees who were able to choose from 10 free seminars.
In addition, the 2022 World Pork Expo included multi-part panel discussions and Q&A opportunities, as well as five Pork Academy sessions and networking opportunities, and hundreds of industry vendors representing companies from North America and around the world, displaying products in more than 360,000 square feet of exhibition space.
As part of the pork industry’s long-range strategic planning process, the National Pork Producers Council’s Pork Industry Visioning Task Force prioritized international trade, foreign animal disease and labor as issues needing to be addressed in order to move the industry forward.
“We need to lead on these issues, activating producers to tell their stories, collaborating with agricultural partners to amplify our voices, and working with policymakers and regulators to implement meaningful change,” Wolters said.
With the threat of African swine fever detected in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in more than 40 years, calls to protect U.S. borders have never been more urgent, said Dr. Liz Wagstrom, DVM, National Pork Producers Council chief veterinarian and panelist.
“We are asking lawmakers for additional funding in key government programs to prevent and prepare for an outbreak,” she said. “Fully staffing our United States Customs and Border Protection agricultural inspection program and hiring additional USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary field staff are among the investments the National Pork Producers Council has requested.”
Jack Detiveaux, National Pork Producers Council manager of competition, labor and tax, and a panelist, said an ongoing labor shortage continues to impact producers and pork processors.
“The lack of workers undermines a critical economic sector that in recent years has driven employment and wage growth faster than the overall economy,” he said. “Hog farming is vital to the prosperity of rural America, and to maintaining an abundant supply of safe, nutritious pork for consumers here, and around the globe.”
Maria Zieba, National Pork Producers Council assistant vice president of international affairs, said joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is “a key priority to create American jobs and boost pork exports to an estimated 500 million consumers served in the 11-member pact.”
Although U.S. farmers and other trade experts have expressed concern over what some have said is a partisan re-make of former President Donald Trump’s Phase One trade deal with China, Zieba said, “It’s vital for the U.S. pork industry to strengthen relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Bryan Humphreys, National Pork Producers Council CEO, said actions taken on these vital issues will impact producers for years to come.
“We are committed to building momentum for groundbreaking advocacy work on behalf of pork producers,” he said. “That means strengthening advocacy outreach by showing up in new ways; working more collaboratively across agriculture; and taking action in D.C., in states, and in the global marketplace.”
The next World Pork Expo will be held June 7-9, 2023, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
“We continue to be the world’s largest pork-specific trade show,” said Doug Fricke, World Pork Expo director of trade show marketing for the National Pork Producers Council in Des Moines. “If you’re part of the pork industry, you’re part of the World Pork Expo.”

6/21/2022