The 30th World Pork Expo concluded this past Saturday on the grounds of the Iowa State Fair. I have been coming to the World Pork Expo since 1997 and have been hooked since. I've missed only a handful in the past 20+ years for one reason or another.
The World Pork Expo is a tremendous national and international event for Iowa and it only continues to get bigger and better every year. Tens of thousands of people from dozens of countries and all 50 states converge on Des Moines for this memorable event every year. Obviously, this is a big economic stimulus for central Iowa.
From swine shows to trade shows and seminars to entertainment...and don't forget the delicious pork...The National Pork Producers Council and their sponsors know how to put together a truly spectacular event.
I was unable to get to any of the activities or shows during the week but I did make it to the Saturday swine sales. Hundreds of purebred Hampshire, Duroc, Landrace, Yorkshire, Chester White, Spot, Poland China, Berkshire, and crossbred boars and gilts were offered up for public auction. They started selling at 9am and it went all afternoon. The sales and associated shows are organized by the National Swine Registry, Certified Pedigreed Swine, and American Berkshire Association.
I have many fond memories of attending the World Pork Expo shows and sales with either just my dad or my family. For many years, purchases of purebred seedstock for our family farm would occur. While that era has ended, I still love watching a good hog show and even better - I love a good auction.
The three breed registry associations do a good job putting the results up on their websites and social media accounts and the National Swine Registry hires Walton Webcasting to broadcast the shows and sales and the archives are kept on their site.
The first pig to sell through the ring on Saturday was the Champion Yorkshire Boar, which sold for $150,000. Yes, that's not a typo. Several firms went together to buy him and he will end up at a boar stud where his semen will be sold for hundreds of dollars for a small bottle.
No other pigs sold for that kind of money but there were several that sold for more than $10,000. The Berkshire breed set a new record for a gilt that sold for more than $31,000. The basement price on a gilt (female) was $250 and the basement on a boar (male) was $400. There were plenty of no-sales.
One of the best developments to happen to the swine industry over the past decade or so has been the creation and subsequent growth of the National Junior Swine Association and the Team Purebred.
These two organizations have exploded in popularity and they host many shows and other leadership programming throughout the year. It has allowed thousands of young people to be exposed to livestock and agriculture and the career opportunities contained within those industries and it has created incredible new markets for purebred and showpig breeders.
You cannot walk around the swine barn during the World Pork Expo without seeing lots of advertising for various aspects of the industry. Glitter dust? Some of these pigs live better than a lot of humans!
I only stayed until about noon but some staff and vendors were busy tearing down the tents and other infrastructure used during the multi-day event.
It won't be long and the Iowa State Fair will be back in full swing at these gorgeous fairgrounds. I, for one, cannot wait.