40th Annual Ontario Pork Congress... a Pork Celebration
Article posted on: May 7th, 2013
Stratford, Ontario - 40th annual Ontario Pork Congress a pork celebration
Canada’s largest pig show is returning in grand fashion, as the Ontario Pork Congress (OPC) celebrates its 40th year.
Organizers are planning this latest edition of the OPC to be a celebration of pork, as well as an educational opportunity for the industry.
Each year, the OPC brings together all segments of the pork industry to showcase the latest technologies, developments, services and products available. The Congress also helps promote and address pressing industry issues, such as carcass quality, animal welfare and profitability.
This year’s event has moved to the new dates of Wednesday June 19th and Thursday June 20th, to allow for more producers to attend the 2013 slate of events.
The Stratford Rotary Complex is hosting the tradeshow portion both days of the Pork Congress.
Well over 100 unique exhibitors from around the world will be on hand at this year’s event, from animal health and feed companies, to hog housing and barn technology manufacturers.
For the very first time, the OPC has joined forces with the Stratford Blues and Rib Festival for a five-day pork festival called, “Hog Wild Week in Stratford,” that combines live blues music, barbequed pork and a complete set of events to be announced in the coming weeks.
Other events taking place during this year’s OPC include Pig Art, a creative digital photography contest, the Junior Barrow Competition and the Hog Jog, a 3.5km and 10km run supporting Victim Services of Perth County.
For the true pork connoisseurs, “Taste the Difference,” brings in several local restaurants and challenges them to come up with a whole host of creative dishes made from pork.
Stephen Thomas, 2012-13 OPC president and sales representative for Elanco Animal Health, sees the Congress as a venue for the pork industry members to support each other and gain valuable new perspectives.
“It’s a good opportunity to discuss ideas, listen to ideas from other people and use it as a form of education,” said Thomas. “We don’t want producers to look at the congress as group of companies trying to sell you something. Rather, we’re all equally invested in trying to make the industry more sustainable and profitable.”
Thomas is encouraging producers attending this year’s pork congress to invite their staff farmhands to come, get educated and get the bigger picture of the pork industry.
“I think being at the show will broaden people’s horizons,” he says. “They may find something, whether it’s a new feeder or water medication application that they can use on their own barns to make their operations more profitable.”
Thomas hopes this year’s OPC could help to spur discussions among producer, packers and retailers about how the Canadian pork industry can better market themselves and benefit from growing populations and higher demand for pork.
“I’m proud to be part of this pork industry and it amazes me how incredibly resilient producers are,” he says. “But there’s a great opportunity here; we have a versatile, high quality product and I’d love to see more conversations about how we can reach out and continue to provide safe, consistent and affordable food.”