As October ends, pork producers around the country are winding down their Pork Month activities. Here in Nebraska we are not just watching the end of the month in the rear-view mirror, but rather we are looking ahead down the road with great anticipation. For our Nebraska pig farmers, Pork Month is every month.
Ever since 1961 when the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) officially organized, we have been working to produce a safe, affordable, and sustainable product on our farms. The result of this hard work is we not only help feed our nation, we also help to feed the world.
Pork is the worlds’ most widely eaten meat, ahead of chicken and beef. Local farmers have been busy raising pigs for this world market, sending 27 percent of our production last year to other countries. We understand that people in these countries count on us to produce a safe product which they can feed to their families. We are responsible people and take this role very seriously.
In Nebraska we have more pigs than in the past 20 years. This growth means we are positively affecting our local economies. Nebraska now boasts over 14,000 jobs in pork production which generates $772 million of personal income. We are proud to add $1.14 billion of value to our gross state product. With 1-in-4 jobs coming from agriculture, we know that we play a valuable role in this area.
We also know there is more to our lives than just raising pigs. Our farmers, their workers, and families are members of our communities. They shop in our towns, are involved in community activities, volunteer in local schools and churches, and are our friends and neighbors. We know the importance of a strong rural Nebraska and continue to work hard every day to preserve this way of life.
So yes, October is Pork Month and it is a time when we celebrate our family farmers and their communities. But the next time you order bacon for breakfast at the local cafe, put that Easter ham on the table, or throw a rack of ribs on the grill, remember all the hard-working farm families that are there every day of the year so we can all enjoy a safe, sustainable, affordable, and yes, a ‘tasty’ food we call pork!