44th annual Ontario Pork Congress celebrates community, history and the hog industry’s future
The Ontario Pork Congress – Canada’s largest pig show – is getting set to host its 44th annual event June 21 and 22 in Stratford.
2017 Ontario Pork Congress President Joe Dwyer has been attending the show for 22 years and says that, while he’s seen the hog industry grow and evolve, the goal of Pork Congress remains unchanged.
“This is an event that’s always been about bringing together all segments of our industry to showcase the latest technologies, services and products, while promoting the health and quality of pork,” he says.
The tradeshow portion of the Ontario Pork Congress, held at the Stratford Rotary Complex, will feature around 150 Canadian and international exhibitors, and is expected to draw over 3,000 attendees.
“Our exhibitors will take you on a journey through the entire pork production cycle, starting with swine genetics, to the latest innovations in areas such as sow housing and feeding systems, and then finally – your kitchen table,” says Dwyer.
He adds that several international hog industry workers will tour the Pork Congress over both days with a Spanish translator on-hand to help answer questions and facilitate discussions.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Ontario Pork Congress is having its first ever online Pig Art Auction, which will feature a print by local hog farmer and artist Fran Roelands and quilt by local quilter Jennifer Schumm. Details on the auction are available on the Ontario Pork Congress Twitter Page @OntPorkCongress.
The Ontario Pork Congress is also continuing its successful partnership with the Stratford Blues and Rib Fest to help host “Hog Wild Week” in Stratford.
One of the week’s most popular events, “Taste the Best”, is a friendly competition that sees several local chefs prepare signature dishes made with local cuts of pork, and then have their creations judged by attendees.
Closing out “Hog Wild Week” on Sunday, June 25, is the 2017 Weekend Warrior BBQ Amateur Open Competition.
“This is the only amateur, all-pork event in Ontario,” explains Dwyer. “If you think you’re a master of the grill, get a team together and put your skills to the test.”
Attendees wanting to learn more about hog production in Canada can visit the Bacon Maker Classic (BMC) Education Centre, which features interactive stations with industry experts presenting on topics such as farm biosecurity, carcass quality, and nutrition. Chef Arron Carley, winner of the 2016 Chopped Canada series, is set to serve up live cooking demonstrations on day two at the BMC Education Centre.
Attendees can relax, wind down and talk shop at the Pork Congress hospitality tent, while families with younger children can visit the “Piglet Pen” play area for a break in the festivities.
Capping off day one of the Pork Congress is the Hog Jog, a 3.5 kilometer run or walk, and a 10-kilometer run – followed by dinner – that is expected to attract over 600 participants in support of Optimism Place Women’s Shelter in Perth County.
The Pork Congress’ marquee live hog show, the Bacon Maker Classic, takes place on day two and sees the next generation of pork producers showcase their showmanship and stockmanship skills. This year’s Bacon Maker Classic will also include a carcass evaluation segment, where participants can have their animals graded and learn about what qualities meat packers look for in a quality pork product.
When asked what he is most looking forward to seeing or experiencing at the 2017 Ontario Pork Congress, Dwyer’s answer is simple – the people.
“This is what makes all aspects of the show happen – from the exhibitors who spend countless hours preparing and setting up, and the volunteers who make sure everything runs smoothly – to the attendees who bring the show to life,” he says. “And what better than the Pork Congress for everyone to get caught up, relax and interact.”
The 44th annual Ontario Pork Congress will be held June 21 and 22, 2017 at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario. Visit www.porkcongress.on.ca or follow @OntPorkCongress on Twitter® for more information about this year’s congress, and a detailed event listing.
For media enquiries, contact Christine Schoonderwoerd, Promotions Chair and Past President,
Ontario Pork Congress
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