By Matt Reese
This week’s Ohio Pork Congress offered the opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, review lessons learned in the past year, and look to the future for opportunities to enhance Ohio’s pork industry. Important pork industry topics covered at the event ranged from watershed-local to international in scale, said Dave Shoup, Ohio Pork Council president.
“The governor’s H2Ohio plan has allocated money to farmers to allow them to adopt different practices to clean up the water in Lake Erie through the Maumee Watershed. We also talked about the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative, a voluntary program where environmental groups and farmers came together and are working on a plan on how to implement that money in the best possible way. We are trying to understand the practices farmers are using through an app that is being developed so that at the end of the next 2 or 3 years we can see what advancements have been made,” Shoup said. “Our hearts go out to the people of China as they are dealing with this coronavirus and we sure hope that disease does not go pandemic. That has sure had a direct impact on our swine producers’ markets. There has been some real excitement about the USMCA and what that could do for swine markets moving forward. One of our fears is how African swine fever has just decimated the industry in China. It will be difficult to clean things up and re-establish the swine industry there. It looks like it will very rapidly modernize their industry. We just pray it does not come to our country and that we are properly prepared if it does.”
Attendees also gained industry insights from Henry Zerby, Vice President of Protein Procurement and Innovation, Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Co-op Inc. Zerby joined QSCC in 2016. There, his team is responsible for the supply chain development and acquisition of all animal protein products for Wendy’s. In addition to his work as Vice President of Protein Procurement and Innovation, Zerby also serves as a member of Wendy’s Animal Welfare Council. Prior to joining QSCC, Zerby served on the faculty at The Ohio State University for 17 years.
Award winners were also recognized at the event. They were:
- Pork Promoter of the Year Award: Morrow County Pork Producers
- Swine Manager of the Year Award: Bill Knapke, Mercer County
- OPC Service Award: Tony Nye, Ohio State University Extension
- Friends of Ohio Pork Award: Dr. Andrew Bowman with the Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Medicine
- Pork Industry Excellence Award: Jim Heimerl, Licking County, former National Pork Producers president.