FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stratford, Ontario, May 18, 2016
Ontario Pork Congress brings new and popular events, food, education and a family atmosphere
- Record number of Canadian and international exhibitors
- Taste the Best event features bacon-themed dishes, craft beer sampling
- Hog Jog event to support Stratford/Perth Shelterlink
June is a time for optimism for many of Ontario’s pork producers, with hog markets reaching their peak, this year’s corn crop starting to come out of the ground and the kids finishing up school for the year. It’s also the perfect backdrop to kick off the 43rd Ontario Pork Congress on June 22 and 23.
Each year, the Ontario Pork Congress brings together all segments of the pork industry for two days of networking, education, food and festivities.
According to Ontario Pork Congress President Blair Cressman, the event, at its core, is about celebrating another successful year in the industry, catching up with old friends and meeting the coming generation of pork producers.
“A lot of the producers that attend just want to reconnect and talk about what’s going on in their barns and their segment of the industry over a pork barbeque lunch on a sunny day in June,” says Cressman. “The unique networking that happens – industry to producer and producer to producer – is what an event like the Pork Congress helps create. To us, that’s a celebration of pork and a celebration of our industry.”
Cressman notes that event organizers are expecting between 2,000 and 2,500 attendees for this year’s Congress, and hopes that number will continue climbing to match positive hog market trends in recent years.
The tradeshow portion of the Pork Congress takes place at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario and brings together over 140 Canadian and international exhibitors – a record number – to showcase the latest innovations in areas including electronic feeding systems, genetics, nutrition and housing.
Young families touring the tradeshow halls and exhibits can also stop by the new “Piglet Pen” play area for a quick break in the action.
One of the Pork Congress’ anchoring events for over 40 years has been the Bacon Maker Classic (BMC), a live hog show that takes place on the second day and showcases the next generation of pork producers’ knowledge, skills and showmanship.
Alongside the hog show is the BMC Education Centre, which takes attendees on an interactive educational tour of the entire pork production process, with individual stations focusing on health and genetics, management, production, nutrition and biosecurity.
Foodies can get their fix at the popular “Taste the Best” event, which showcases local pork prepared by local chefs, along with craft beer. Pork Congress organizers choose a different cut of pork for local participating restaurants to make into an array creative dishes to be sampled by attendees. This year’s pork cut of choice? Pork belly and cured bacon.
“We’re playing on the trendy aspect of bacon, It’s become almost a hipster product that’s developed its own cult following,” says Cressman. “You talk to any chef and they’ve got no problem working with it.”
This year’s food-related festivities will also include a charity rib-eating contest on day two, where prominent pork industry members and local celebrities will eat their way through a mountain of specially prepared ribs as quickly as possible.
The always-popular Hog Jog also makes its return on the opening night of the Congress and is expected to see well over 500 participants take on a family friendly 3.5 kilometer walk or job, a 10 kilometer run course, and the 500 meter “weaner run” for children six and under.
Proceeds from the Hog Jog event will support Stratford/Perth Shelterlink, a charitable organization that provides at risk and homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 24 with shelter, food, advocacy services and basic needs.
“We have a very stable, tight-knit industry and it’s like family to a lot of the people and operations – we’re close,” says Cressman. “That’s why we need events like the Pork Congress that allow for networking and celebration.”
The 43rd annual Ontario Pork Congress will be held June 22 and June 23, 2016 at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario. Visit www.porkcongress.on.ca or follow us on Twitter® @OntPorkCongress for more information about this year’s Congress and a detailed listing of events.
For media enquiries, contact Christine Schoonderwoerd, Promotions Chair and Past President, Ontario Pork Congress
Telephone: (519) 272-1532