Many consumers around the U.S. and the world enjoy pork and Iowa pork producers play a significant role in feeding the domestic and international demand for the world's most widely consumed meat.
Iowa is not only the top pork producing state in the country, it also leads the U.S. in pork exports. Iowa's pork producers are committed to raising hogs responsibly and are dedicated to producing a healthy, nutritious product.
October is National Pork Month and producers use this time to celebrate their success, promote pork and remind consumers everywhere that pork is a great product and they work hard to make it safe, healthy and available.
Pork is a healthy addition to a balanced diet. A recent USDA study found that six common cuts of fresh pork are leaner today than they were 15 years ago -- about 16 percent lower in total fat and 27 percent lower in saturated fat, on average. In fact, pork tenderloin is now as lean as a skinless chicken breast, containing only 2.98 grams of fat per three-ounce serving. A three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin is an excellent source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorous and niacin.
Also, a recent PurdueUniversity study found that a higher protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. A reduced-calorie diet with a higher amount of protein helped overweight women retain more lean body mass while losing weight compared to women who consumed the same amount of calories, but ate less protein.
Pork producers have long known their obligation to build and maintain the trust of consumers and customers in their products and practices and now they want the public to know what those obligations are.
In March, delegates to the National Pork Forum in St. Louis affirmed six ethical principles of pork production to promote confidence in what producers do and how they do it. The guiding principles of pork production are part of a program announced in June called "We Care."
When raising hogs, producers are obligated to produce safe food, protect and promote animal well-being, safeguard natural resources in all practices, ensure all practices protect public health, provide a safe and consistent work environment, and to contribute to a better quality of life in their community.
The ethical principles help define the pork industry and its core values and producers hope consumers will think of the industry in a positive light. The vision is simple. The industry wants the public to view it as a self-regulated industry that earns the trust of others.
Pork production has evolved over the past several decades with the introduction of new, highly sophisticated farming techniques. Producers follow stringent production guidelines and regulations. New technology has allowed farmers to produce hogs more efficiently and more cost-effectively. This is especially critical to meeting today's global demand for quality, low-cost pork.
Strong domestic and foreign demand for pork has prompted family farmers and independent producers to grow their business in order to stay competitive in the market. This has resulted in larger numbers of hogs being raised by individual producers.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association, along with the Pork Checkoff, works in many areas to support pork producers. The association works with producers on promotional activities, invests in new and continuing research, provides consumer information, and helps promote environmental safety.