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Lean, nutritious and versatile, Nebraska pork stands superbly on its own at the center of the plate – and fits right in as a key ingredient in thousands of recipes enjoyed by Nebraskans and others across the country and around the world, the Nebraska Corn Board said  in acknowledging that October is National Pork Month.

“While October is an opportunity to celebrate the world’s most widely consumed meat, it is also an opportunity to recognize Nebraska hog farmers who care for their animals every day year round,” said Kelsey Pope, ag promotion coordinator for the Nebraska Corn Board. “Farmers provide shelter, quality feed and fresh water to raise healthy animals. They genuinely care about their animals and extend that care to the environment.”

David Merrell, a farmer from St. Edward who grows corn and raises hogs, said besides producing pork for Nebraskans and others across the country, pork producers see a lot of value in shipping pork to other countries. 

In fact, about 22 percent of pork produced in the United States goes to other countries, making the United States the world’s largest pork exporter.

“The United States became a net pork exporter in the 1990s and since 2000 exports have increased nearly eleven-fold,” said Merrell, a member of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Key markets include Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, China and South Korea.”

Pork exports added about $38 per head of each hog processed in 2009, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a trade association that helps create demand for U.S. pork and beef around the world. 

The Nebraska Corn Board has supported USMEF since 1979–the year USMEF was founded.

“With 94 percent of the world’s population outside the United States and a growing number of those people looking to add protein to their diet, we have an opportunity to see Nebraska pork on more dinner plates around the world,” Pope said. 

“Pork exports help hog farmers, who in turn provide a boost to the state’s economy by generating millions of dollars in economic activity, from equipment to feed to the thousands of jobs in dozens of different sectors. It means a larger tax base for rural communities and important economic activity for the state as a whole.”

She added that it also means converting corn and distillers grains into a higher value product like pork, in order to capture more of that of economic value here at home.

In addition to its support for USMEF, the Nebraska Corn Board supports the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) and partners with the Nebraska Pork Producers Association to promote pork within the state.

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. 

Producers invest in the program at a rate of one-fourth of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education. 

For more, go to www.NebraskaCorn.org.