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A RISING TIDE RAISES ALL SHIPS: ONE PORK PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE

The proof is always in the pudding, or at least that’s what Dave Reinecker has to say about the return on his investment in the Pork Checkoff. Simply put, producers want to see the return on their investment. And he recently had the opportunity to see the pudding.

When Reinecker, a pork producer from York Springs, Pa., was presented with the opportunity to do just that by representing the U.S. pork industry at the Latin American Product Showcase in July, he jumped at the opportunity.

A SIGNIFICANT MARKET OPPORTUNITY

The Latin American Product Showcase is held every other year. This year’s event took place in Cartagena, Colombia. The event, hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), allows U.S. exporters to connect with importers from Central America and South America. This year marked their largest event yet with over 200 attendees. 

Not only does this event allow producers like Reinecker to see Checkoff dollars at work, but it also allows importers to learn more about U.S. pork production from the experts who do the work, day-in and day-out. 

“Having our pork producers there to not only see it and understand it, but also to speak and see where their product is at, is really exciting. It’s always a great opportunity to get in market to have that full-circle moment,” says Kelli Wicks, manager of international market development for the National Pork Board. 

Colombia is a significant market and pork consumption is growing exponentially. Colombia has over 50 million people and is about 1/6 the population of the U.S. Reinecker says this was one of many things he learned on the trip that surprised him.

“What jumped out at me was the per capita increase in pork consumption in Colombia specifically,” Reinecker says. “I learned that in 2011, Colombians consumed about 7 lb. of pork on an annual basis. That has now jumped to 26 lb. annually.” 

According to USDA Production, Supply and Distribution data, the annual domestic consumption in Colombia was 237,000 metric tons carcass-weight equivalent (CWE). Last year, that number jumped up to 682,000 metric tons CWE.

That’s a significant increase and shows the impact of the National Pork Board’s collaborations with USMEF, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), North American Meat Institute and USDA. 

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