Jim Long Pork Commentary: Iowa Pork Congress report

Every January the Iowa Pork Congress is held in Des Moines Iowa. It is the premier winter trade show in the United States and gets visitors from all across the country.
calendar icon 31 January 2020
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China, China, China.

Producers are glad that Phase 1 of the trade deal is signed. Now they hope to see lots more pork going to China. Some producers spoke of the sad part that producer prosperity depends on more trade to China.

It’s the reality. Maybe a grim reality, but “it is what it is.”

Genesus US sales team had a meeting prior to the Iowa Pork Congress. As a group, we did a field trip to Fareway store. The regional store is selling Genesus derived Duroc Pork as its premier product. On every product item, it’s a minimum $1.00 lb. higher than the comparison pork.

Fareway stores feature butchers serving from behind glass meat cases. They are salesmen behind the counter.
We asked the head butcher “When customers ask why the Duroc Pork (Genesus) is worth over a $1.00 lb more, what do you say?” Answer “It tastes better!”. He added, “Once they try it they always come back for more.”

“Taste better” not because it’s a Duroc, it’s because the Genesus Duroc has more marbling, firmness and redder pork. All Durocs are not the same! If we use a so-called Duroc but it won’t qualify for legal use of Duroc name in US meat case, is it really a Duroc? It won’t grow our industry.

If we want to grow our industry we need to produce pork that “tastes better”.

Maybe this is an oversimplification but as pork producers, we chase $1.00 in the cost of production in a hog. When demand drives price, such as taste can potentially increase hog values by $10 bills.

Final Note:

My youngest son is 17, he works at McDonald's part-time. He cooks and puts together meals. The store he works at would be considered in a higher-income area. He estimates that for every 200 burgers there are about 2 that are plant-based. Small focus group but not a resounding testament to demand for plant-based burgers. There is hype, then reality.

Jim Long

President - CEO at Genesus Genetics
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