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Pork producers gather to share ideas at the 2024 World Pork Expo

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Since 1988, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has been hosting the World Pork Expo (WPX).

On June 5-6, more than 12,000 producers and industry professionals from 37 countries came together at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa to celebrate the 36th WPX.

WPX is the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with a wide range of free seminars, networking and hospitality opportunities.

According to the WPX press release, NPPC President and Minnesota Pork Producer Lori Stevermer stated, “WPX brings out the best in the swine industry. There are so many educational and networking opportunities. I hope everyone who attended the expo went home with a new idea they can implement on their farm for a long-term benefit.”

Highlights from the NPPC included a policy panel covering current legislative, regulatory, legal and trade priorities for the pork industry. 

Topics focused on the ongoing fight for the 2024 Farm Bill, California’s Proposition (Prop) 12, agricultural labor, an enhanced swine traceability system, international trade and foreign animal disease preparation and prevention.

Speakers at the 2024 WPX included Jennifer Moffitt, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig.

New program

This year, the NPPC added a new program to the WPX lineup – the Young Pork Advocates Issues Meet, sponsored by Novus and NutraBlend. 

The two-day competition was designed for youth from 17 to 22 years old to participate in collaborative discussions around industry issues and draft innovative solutions.

“The goal is to engage more young people and bring them to WPX,” said Seth Mitchell, manager of state pork industry relations at NPPC. “We see it as a launchpad to future involvement in the pork industry.”

Twelve youth from eight states participated in the inaugural event, with four finalists receiving scholarships.

The winner, Emma Kuhns from Illinois, received a $2,500 scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the NPPC Legislative Action Conference in September. 

The other finalists were Amanda Ostrem of Iowa, who received $2,000; Graca Goettsch of Iowa, who received $1,500 and Bella Stouffer of Washington, who received $1,000.

Something for everyone

Between Pork Academy, presented by the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff, and company-sponsored business seminars, there were numerous opportunities to gather the latest insights into topics impacting pork production today and into the future.

Jenna Seltzer from Elanco, a swine nutritional health consultant, discussed the latest advancements in swine nutritional health and how these innovations are benefiting pork producers.

She shared insights on new products and strategies which enhance the health and productivity of swine herds.

Ever.Ag Livestock Division President Joe Kerns and Ever.Ag Lead Economist Dr. Steve Meyer presented on the economic outlook for the pork industry.

The two speakers discussed the impact of the European Union stepping back from exports due to regulations, and for the first time since 2014, the U.S. will most likely gain the number one exporter position this year. 

Meyer highlighted the optimism in the U.S. pork market, noting a record-high export rate of 27 percent, translating to nine percent growth. 

However, he anticipates the $10 per head profit for producers is swinging back to negative margins due to factors such as Tyson’s plant closure in Perry, Iowa; improved productivity; global production rebound from African swine fever (ASF) and lower consumer spending.

Meyer warned of Brazil’s scaling efforts in the swine industry, paralleling their success in poultry and beef exports, suggesting with current demand levels, the U.S. swine industry would need to reduce its sow herd from six million to four million, if all sow farms performed at the top level.

NPPC updates

Chase Adams, NPPC assistant vice president of domestic policy, discussed the complications created by Prop 12 in potentially opening the door to a web of 50 different, often conflicting, standards on how food is produced. 

Adams said, “NPPC urges Congress to adopt a legislative solution in the farm bill to mitigate further impacts to both farmers and consumers, noting the legislation has led to price spikes as high as 41 percent for fresh pork in California and is negatively impacting consumers.”

As the pork industry recovers from historic economic losses, producers need stability in their operations. 

NPPC Chief Executive Officer Bryan Humphreys reiterated the importance of ongoing policy efforts. 

“NPPC continues to work on a range of policy issues which protect herd health and safeguard producers’ farming businesses,” Humphreys said. “We encourage Congress to finalize a bipartisan farm bill this year reflecting the needs of pork producers.”

Dr. Anna Forseth, NPPC director of animal health, highlighted the importance of preserving foreign animal disease risk and prevention programs, which include the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank, National Animal Health Laboratory Network, National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program and National Veterinary Stockpile.

“Pork producers continue to face threats from foreign animal disease like ASF,” Forseth stated. “Farm bill funding can address these risks and help mitigate an outbreak which could lead to billions of dollars in losses, food shortages and the immediate closure of export markets.”

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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