Reaching out to consumers, business leaders and communitry groups are just some of the actions undertaken by the National Pork Board's Operation Main Street program. "It's more than just a speaker bureau," Bill Kessler, told the Pork Act Delegate body at last week's National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. "There are hundreds of speakers in communities today talking about our industry."

OMS is a program that trains pork producers and others involved in the U.S. pork industry to give presentations to explain contemporary pork production practices and the benefits of pork products. NPB provides scheduling assistance and resources for the speakers.

In total, there have been more than 24,000 hours of speeches already logged in the programs 5-year lifespan. Some of the groups that the program has reached include dieticians, county commissioners, civil groups and grade-school students.

As the program chairman, Kessler explained that the priority for 2010 is to get in front of more veterinary clinics and veterinary students with the industry's message.

In 2008, OMS reached out to local media, bringing reporters into state and national pork producer association offices. When the producers took that approach, the result with those participating media outlets resulted in 100 percent positive messages, Kessler said.

"In all, we estimate that OMS has reached more than 14 million people," Kessler said. "The Novel H1N1 influenza episode is an example of OMS getting out and sharing our message."

He pointed out that the plans for 2010 is to expand the pork industry's messages deeper on to the Internet, including social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Interested parties can find out more about OMS by going to NPB's Web site.