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National Pork Board program helps connect pork with people

by Ben Nuelle   INTERVIEW: Ernie Barnes- National Pork Board

94 percent of Iowa hog farms are family owned enterprises. If a consumer knows that fact, they are more likely to buy the product.

Ernie Barnes is Director of Producer Services at the National Pork Board.

He manages a program called “Operation Main street.”

“Operation Main street” is a producer training session we put pork producers through to make them better speakers. So far we’ve had over 1,200 pork producers. They’ve given 9,000 speeches in the last eight to ten years.”

Barnes says National Pork Board helps with scheduling so the producer doesn’t have to worry.

“Pork producers are very busy people and they’re not going to wake up and do chores some morning and say ‘I need to give a speech tomorrow or the next day.’ I think the success of the program is been that we schedule the speeches and make sure they’re ok to go to them.”

Barnes adds the program began in 2004.

Producers speak to allied industry groups, school children, rotary clubs, civic organizations and breakfast clubs.