Chris Soules, star of "The Bachelor," poses with a bouquet of bacon roses at the 2015 Pork Industry Forum.
Chris Soules, star of "The Bachelor," poses with a bouquet of bacon roses at the 2015 Pork Industry Forum.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas –At the 2015 Pork Industry Forum, delegates from the National Pork Producers Council and Pork Act were tasked with providing direction on significant issues facing today’s pork producers and the industry.

Held March 5-7 in San Antonio, Texas, the issues addressed by delegates ranged from export opportunities through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to working with Congress on mandatory country-of-origin labeling, from utilizing social media to reach the next generation of producers and consumers to learning from PEDv to face the next emerging disease threat.

Special appearances were made by U.S. Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter and reality star Chris Soules of “The Bachelor.” Soules was on hand to announce the National Pork Board’s newest award program, America’s Pig Farmer of the Year, for which he will be a celebrity judge. Soules also presented an iconic rose – a bacon rose – to each female member of the National Pork Board’s leadership.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack provided a tele-update from his office in Washington, where a significant snow storm prevented him from traveling to Texas for the event.

Just a few of the notable quotes from the 2015 Pork Industry Forum include:

  • Dr. Howard Hill, outgoing NPPC president: “If we don’t tell our story, groups like the Humane Society of the United States and the Environmental Working Group will.”
  • Chris Soules: “I personally – and strongly – encourage anyone out there to participate in America’s Pig Farmer of the Year program because I think it could be a really great thing for your operation and help us get our message out to the American consumer.”  
  • Ambassador Vetter: “The Asia Pacific region’s growing middle class means the consumers will expect more choices, quality, and safety in their food which means there are tremendous growth opportunities for American agricultural products.”
  • USDA Secretary Vilsack: “There’s another significant and specific reason from a national security perspective why it’s important for us to get TPP done.  The reality is if it doesn’t get done through U.S. leadership, it will get done with China, its leadership and its set of values.”
  • Chris Hodges, new CEO of the National Pork Board: “The bad news is we are in a major expansion right now in terms of production, and this really started at a really rough time when exports started to fade at the end of last year. As we stand here today, we have several weeks already when we are offset by 6 to 7 percent from a year ago. As we go through the year, we will be selling another 25 to 30 million pounds of pork each week. That’s a challenge, but we’re up for it.”
  • Neil Dierks, NPPC CEO: “As your CEO, one of my biggest goals is that NPPC moves forward and defends the efforts to be sure we create opportunity for everyone in the industry.”  

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