The annual Iowa Pork Congress opens in Des Moines Wednesday, and spokesperson Ron Birkenholz says producers have at least 10 resolutions related to the pork industry that they’ll discuss. “These didn’t come in until late, so it almost makes you believe that things are pretty good in the pork industry right now,” Birkenholz says. “We’re talking about some mandatory price reporting again…there’s some utility resolutions that have been brought forth. I don’t anticipate anything really huge coming out of the annual meeting as far as resolutions go.”
Two major pork producers have announced new policies that call for the phasing out the use of farrowing stalls and gestation stalls for pregnant sows. Birkenholz expects producers to discuss the issue during the Iowa Pork Congress. “Smithfield made the announcement and then Tyson followed up a day or two later with a similar announcement, even taking it a little bit further than I think Smithfield has. Yeah, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that is a topic of conversation on our trade floor this week,” Birkenholz says.
The annual awards banquet is scheduled for Wednesday evening, and the pork producers will again feature their winter picnic served during the lunch hour in downtown Des Moines. He says that is at the Capitol Square and everyone is invited for a pork burger lunch and they will be accepting donations for the Iowa Food Bank as well.
The free lunch has become a tradition at the event. “It’s just our way of thanking consumers for consuming pork and being regular customers of Iowa pork producers,” Birkenholz says. The Iowa Pork Congress also hosts what’s billed as the largest indoor pork-specific trade show on Wednesday and Thursday. Birkenholz says spots at the trade show sold out. Some 5,000 people are expected to attend the Iowa Pork Congress at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars