The National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street program has grown from a charter class of 15 trained speakers to more than 600. To-date, 2,250 speeches have been scheduled and additional presentations are being scheduled in 23 states reaching over 73,500 people. The program was launched in 2004,
"I view my role as an ambassador and an educator for the pork industry," said Steve Weaver, National Pork Board president and OMS participant from Elk Grove, Calif.
OMS involves intensive speaker training and a scheduling program that encourages producers to give presentations at local civic organizations on environmental issues, new technologies and the many ways pork production impacts local and state economies.
"As pork producers, we need to be willing to represent our industry," said Weaver. "If we don't, we are missing real opportunities to meet the people in our local communities, promote the benefits of our product and tell our side of the story."
Today this four-year-old effort also includes:
• A media outreach program to generate a positive and accurate understanding of the pork industry. OMS speakers have reached 1.9 million people,
• Advanced speaker training to further develop the skills and confidence required of speakers in more challenging situations.
• Refresher training to help speakers brush up on their skills and learn from other speakers.
"Consumers want to hear from people with firsthand knowledge," said Weaver. For more information on OMS, see http://www.pork.org/Producers/OMS.aspx