From Random Thoughts to Big Innovations: Highlights from the 2024 World Pork Expo, By Jim Eadie

Attending the 2024 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 5-6 was nothing short of exhilarating. The event, held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, brought together industry professionals and enthusiasts, creating an atmosphere brimming with excitement and innovation. This year, the expo was more than just an industry event; it was a celebration.

A Unique Perspective

One of the standout aspects of the expo was hearing attendees from the beef industry marvel at how this event stands out. They noted how the World Pork Expo is more than a trade show—it’s a full-on celebration where clients and exhibitors go all out. Swine Web had the privilege of covering the event with two unique professionals: Leon Sheets, an Iowa pig farmer with a keen eye for interactive content, and Rachel Fishback from People in Ag, who brought her social media expertise to the table.

Electric Atmosphere

The energy at the expo was phenomenal, reminiscent of a lively sports game. The crowd’s enthusiasm was infectious, creating an unforgettable atmosphere that underscored the significance of this annual gathering.

Innovative Showcases

A particular highlight was Jason Latto from Thorp Equipment, who opted to showcase his products through a cutting-edge, interactive Hologram machine. This two-sided format allowed attendees to view equipment in 3D, presenting a sleek and modern display that truly stood out among the traditional setups.

Connections and Growth

Connections and Growth

I had the pleasure of meeting with the team from Eastman. Mark, Sam, and Maria, along with their colleague, were astute, on point, and focused on learning and innovation. Their professionalism and warmth were evident, and there was a noticeable chemistry that suggested great things were ahead. They were genuinely humbled by their growth over the past three years and were excited to showcase their expansive portfolio of animal nutrition solutions, which includes organic acids, proprietary feed additives, and specialty products.

Fateful Meetings

A serendipitous encounter in the aisles led me to Kent Holden from Holden Farms. Meeting him for the first time felt like fate, especially since he was inducted into our Swine Hall of Fame this year. Our conversation was both insightful and inspiring, reflecting on the industry’s past and envisioning its future.

Award-Winning Innovations

One of the most exciting moments was when IHT Group won the New Product Award for their IHT Cooling Mats. These mats provide localized relief, making them incredibly beneficial during hot weather or in poorly ventilated environments. It’s innovations like these that push our industry forward.



International Traffic

This year saw a remarkable increase in international attendance, with traffic from Canada and other countries outweighing that from the USA. It was fascinating to see such a diverse representation at the expo, highlighting the global reach and impact of the swine industry. Canadian delegates, in particular, were very enthusiastic, bringing fresh perspectives and ideas that enriched the event.

Culinary Delights

The Des Moines food scene did not disappoint. I dined at the new restaurant Oak Park and enjoyed a pork-centric meal featuring Bourbon Candied Bacon, Pork Ragu, and a shared Bacon Glazed Chop. This elevated dining experience highlighted the versatility and demand for pork. A special shout-out goes to Fierce Nutrition in Windsor Heights for their fantastic protein shakes and teas, which provided a perfect start to the day.

Reflection and Future Planning

The 2024 World Pork Expo was more than just an event—it was a chance to meet new people, connect with customers, and reflect on the past year. It offered an opportunity to celebrate our successes and identify areas for improvement. This year’s expo underscored the importance of innovation and community in driving our industry forward.

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The World Pork Expo continues to set the standard for industry events, blending innovation with community spirit in a way that truly celebrates the essence of our work. Here’s to another successful year and to the bright future of the swine industry!