Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 World Pork Expo

My first day on the job, I was submerged in media madness. The World Pork Expo was being held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, where I shadowed JoAnn, attending press conferences and seminars about the latest and not-so-greatest in the pork industry. My first day at the office, I got to upload my first press release on the updates to the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence website, developed from notes I took at one of the conferences. We obtained videos for the website, spoke to many industry folks and I spent some time at the booth, handing out copies of the Benchmark magazine, which contains an annual report of pig production and performance numbers. Lunchtime was no doubt the highlight of each day. I could easily get used to having ribs, tenderloin and pulled pork on a daily basis. And so it went for three days, then I finally got a weekend to catch some sleep and get settled into my apartment.

Though I wasn't surprised at the somber mood of producers and industry leaders, it was disheartening to see first-hand the effects of the downward plunge in the market. Though great advances are being made in production practices, economic strain has dented morale. Times are tough, but positive prospects for the future are not surrendered. Leaders are fighting to emerge out of the darkness into a day where production will not only be efficient, but profitable again.

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