KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Last week's National Pork Industry Forum recharged delegates representing both the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council and reaffirming the passion pork producers from across the nation share.

Held March 6-8 in Kansas City, Mo., the messages shared at the Pork Forum were realistic, optimistic and encouraging.

Over the last year, the pork industry as a whole has faced an enormous number of challenges. From the outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)-backed Proposition 2 in California, producers haven’t had an easy year.

Despite these challenges, the outlook remains bright, leaving producers optimistic for the future.

“Even though the lists of our challenges never decrease, we must focus on the future,” Karen Richter, retiring president of the National Pork Board told a room filled with delegates.

She continued: “We can all work together, uniting in a common goal…the power of one.”

 Some of the highlights include:

  • The Pork Checkoff has invested over $1 million on PEDV research since June 2013
  • Last year, pork was the only U.S. meat gaining domestic market share – domestic real per capita expenditures increased nearly every month in 2013
  • In 2013, the top five U.S. pork markets in total dollar value include Japan ($1.885 billion), Mexico ($1.22 billion), China and Hong Kong ($903 million), Canada ($844 million), and Central and South America ($306 million)
  • More than 5 million pigs died in 9 months because of the PEDv outbreak -- 1.3 million in January alone. Will warmer weather this summer slow PEDv’s spread?
  • The honoring of retiring presidents Karen Richter (National Pork Board) and Randy Spronk (NPPC) and retiring board members.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), filled the afternoon sessions, pointing to the industry’s affirmation of feeding the world with pork produced in a “humane, responsible way.”

“Make your voices heard. We need to speak up about how we raise and care for our animals, how we protect the environment and how we are the backbone of rural communities,” NPPC President Randy Spronk said.

Watch for future updates on PorkNetwork.com this week from the Pork Forum, or visit our Facebook, Instragram or Twitter accounts for more information.