Iowa Pork Congress celebrates 2 milestones

Iowa Pork Congress
Photo: Canva

North America’s largest winter swine trade show and conference, the Iowa Pork Congress, took place for the 50th time on January 25 and 26. In addition to that milestone, the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), which organises the event, announced its new president Trish Cook. She is the first woman to lead the organisation.

The 50th Iowa Pork Congress involved a trade show, educational sessions and the IPPA annual meeting. Sessions ranged from the economic outlook for crops and the US swine industry for 2023 to an update on the Proposition 12 case now in front of the US Supreme Court. There was also a ‘Master Pork Producer Awards’ banquet.

In addition, at both congress days, there were certification sessions for Pork Quality Assurance Plus with the Thursday session conducted in Spanish. On Wednesday, Transportation Quality Assurance certification training also took place.

Session details

Representatives from Great Caterers of Iowa and the National Pork Board shared their perspectives about pork marketing moving forward in 2023. Dr. Meredith Peterson of the Swine Medical Education Center moderated a round robin of researchers and veterinarians on swine health issues. These included Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP) outbreak investigations, feed and feedmill biosecurity, Foreign Animal Disease and African Swine Fever (ASF) updates, and oral fluids validation research.

Panelists included the US Department of Agriculture, Kansas State University and Iowa State University (ISU) including Dr. Chris Rademacher and Dr. Derald Holtkamp.

Research presented for producer vote

Various research projects were in the spotlight on the trade show floor. Producer-attendees voted for the research they found most important. Poster topics, all from ISU researchers, included:

  • Antimicrobial susceptibility trends & genetic diversity of Brachyspira hyodysenteriae isolated from U.S. swine farms.

  • Insights into genetic basis of sow pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Yield and drainage water quality impacts of agricultural management practices.

  • Using clean label, natural antioxidants to prevent lipid oxidation in frozen, food-service bacon made from bellies with three iodine value ranges.

  • Effect of freeze-thaw on the detection of PRRSV RNA by RT-qPCR.

  • Assessment of the production impact of management practices in response to PRRS outbreaks in breed-to-wean farms between 2018 and 2021.

  • Normalization of PRRSV RT-qPCR results for serum and oral fluids (ECqs).

  • Assessing Influenza A virus RNA detection in breeding herds per specimen, with or without pooling.

  • Effect of pen size and number of ropes on behaviors associated with oral fluid sampling.

  • Heat stress alters cardiac architecture and causes cellular dysfunction.

  • The contribution of biological sex to heat stress-mediated production outcomes in growing pigs.

  • Utilizing proteomic and metabolomic data to predict fresh pork loin quality.

First female leader

The new IPPA President, Trish Cook, farms in Eastern Iowa with her husband. They operate a farrow-to-finish operation, and grow corn and soybeans.

Cook has an accounting degree from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa. Furthermore, she has been a member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers for 27 years. She has also served on the IPPA board since 2019 (President-elect in 2022).

She has also given her time on several IPPA committees, participated in the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy and the National Pork Producers Council’s Pork Leadership Institute.

Prevention of the arrival of foreign animal diseases

In her new role, Cook says prevention of the arrival of foreign animal diseases like ASF is her top priority.

In a Radio Iowa interview, Cook says she wants to build on the vigilance Iowa pork producers have developed in recent years to guard against biohazards. “What we are looking forward to is just continuing to be prepared for the event of a possible foreign animal disease.”

Under her leadership, the IPPA will also update its strategic plan. This task is completed every five years or so.

Treena Hein Correspondent
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