Ontario Pork Congress Celebrates 45th Year and it’s Kind of a Pig Deal
Stratford, Ontario, May 30, 2018
- Record number of Canadian and international exhibitors
- Taste the Best event features pork tenderloin-themed dishes, craft beer sampling
- Hog Jog event to support The Local Community Food Centre
June is a time for optimism for many of Ontario’s pork producers, this year’s crops 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 45th Ontario Pork Congress (OPC) on June 20 and 21.
Each year, the OPC brings together all segments of the pork industry for two days of networking, education, food and festivities.
According to OPC President Chris Crump, 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.
“Many producers that attend just want to reconnect and talk about what’s going on in their barns over a pork barbeque lunch on a sunny day in June,” says Crump. “The networking that happens is what an event like the OPC helps foster. To us, it’s a celebration of pork and a celebration of our industry.”
Crump notes that event organizers are expecting around 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 145 Canadian and international exhibitors 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 “Piglet Pen” play area for a quick break in the action.
To celebrate OPC’s 45th anniversary, volunteers have teamed up with Ontario Pork to create a CTV Fields to Forks vignette to be aired on the CTV Kitchener network in the month leading up to the event.
“Working on this video with Ontario Pork has been such a great opportunity to showcase all of the different segments of the Ontario pork sector that come under one roof for our event” says Crump. “It was our goal to showcase this to consumers and let them know how vast our industry really is”.
For 45 years, an anchoring event of the Pork Congress’ 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.
“The live show has always been a favourite of mine.” says Crump. “I have been involved with this show for close to 30 years and I’m thrilled that it continues to be a growing part of the Congress”.
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 mental 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 of creative dishes to be sampled by attendees. This year’s pork cut of choice? Pork tenderloin. Also featured at this event, will be Cowbell Brewing Co. to complement the delicious pork samples.
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 jog, a 10 kilometer run course, and the 500 meter “weaner run” for children six and under.
Proceeds from the Hog Jog event will support The Local Community Food Centre, an organization that teaches members to cook healthy food from scratch on a tight budget, offers community meals and provides cooking and gardening programs that are open to all, both on site and off site at their community garden. Proceeds from the Hog Jog will be invested in capital improvements to their building, ensuring that it is accessible for all. The Honourary Hog Jog Chairs are the Schlegel and Yantzi Families. Clare and Richard and their families farm in Perth County and have partnered with Krug’s Meat Market in Tavistock to provide The Local with affordably priced pork through the Pork for Life initiative.
One thing that Crump wants people to know about the Ontario Pork Congress, is that it is very unique, in that it is a volunteer led organization.
“It is a real privilege and joy to work with volunteers of this caliber.” says Crump. “All give their time freely, without compensation. A great organization for a great industry”.
The 45th annual Ontario Pork Congress will be held June 20 and June 21, 2018 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,
Telephone: (519) 274-5412