The Iowa Pork Producers Association is making sure U.S. and global consumers keep pork on their tables. IPPA has established an aggressive campaign to promote pork products and increase exports of pork to foreign countries.

“We want producers to know the association will continue to do all it can to help move as much pork as possible on the supply side during these challenging times,” says Dave Moody, IPPA president and a pork producer from Nevada, Iowa .

Seventeen pork producers and IPPA staff traveled in March to Miami to promote pork at 10 sites of a local Hispanic grocery store chain, as well as at the country's largest Hispanic festival. More than 16,000 pork chop sandwiches were grilled and handed out in one day at the event, attended by an estimated 1.4 million people.

IPPA is an official sponsor at the Iowa Speedway in Newton and pork will be front and center at each racing event this summer through billboards and public address announcements, as well as the concession stands. Through a partnership with Culver’s restaurants, ground pork and bacon burgers will be grilled and sold at each of the nine speedway events from April through September.

Iowa producers also will participate in the National Pork Board’s new mobile marketing tour this year. IPPA will promote pork at 15 of the events on “The Other White Meat Tour” from Washington, D.C. , to Albuquerque, N.M. between June and October.

IPPA will continue its participation in major promotions with Hy-Vee and Fareway food stores this summer.

IPPA leaders have teamed with the Iowa Department of Economic Development on missions to Japan , Taiwan , the Philippines and Mexico in the past two months in an attempt to ratchet up pork exports to those nations.

The pork industry is facing it’s most difficult period in the last decade. After four profits, pork producers have been losing an average of $30 per hog sold since last fall, and that's not expected to improve anytime soon. Record fuel prices, $6-a-bushel corn and $13-a-bushel soybean prices have combined to make it difficult for many producers to continue raising hogs.

“The situation is not good and with recent reports on pork inventories and forecasted crop plantings this spring, no one is being led to believe the market is heading in a direction to make things better,” Moody notes.

Contributing to the current challenges are record numbers of hogs going to market and most experts don’t expect the needed herd reduction to reverse the current downturn until sometime next year.

Iowa State University livestock economist John Lawrence said earlier this year that pork producers need to evaluate their market-weight strategies to help reduce supply. “The most profitable weight at which to sell is when the additional cost of the next pound is equal to the revenue of that pound,” he said.

Source: Iowa Pork Producers Association