Pork Workshops for Iowa 4-H Conference

Larry McMullen, Swine Field Specialist, Southeast

Problem Statement:

The Iowa 4-H Conference is held annually each year in June on the campus of Iowa State University.  Over the course of years, educational workshops have been a part of this conference.  For six years, the Iowa Pork Industry Center has provided pork workshops for the 4-H conference participants.  These workshops are designed to be informative, interesting, interactive, and fun for the participant.

Programmatic Response:

Three pork workshops were planned and presented by ISU Swine Field Specialists Larry McMullen, Terry Steinhart, and Jerry Weiss as well as IPIC communications specialist Sherry Hoyer for the 2008 4-H Conference which was held on June 24, 25, and 26th   with the theme of “Ignite the Flame”.  Hence the titles of the workshops were selected to follow the theme of the conference.  Each workshop was ninety minutes in length.

The June 24th workshop “Fire Up The Grill” focused on pork quality and selection of pork.  Discussion on how pH, color, and drip loss affect pork quality was made.  An interaction with the participants on the differences of wholesale and retail pork cuts was made as well as the economics and selection pork for purchasing.  Pork loin and bacon samples were prepared and tasted by the participants.

The June 25th workshop “Your Senses – They “Ignite the Flame” of Your Food” included a discussion and demonstration on how smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch affect our perception of taste and choices of food.  Also Dr. Ken Prusa discussed how food products are developed for the commercial market.   Participants were able to sample some products that were under development.   The participants also toured the ISU sensory lab and were involved in a taste test of pork loins. The taste test was conducted with the same protocols as other products are evaluated in the lab. 

The third workshop “The Marvelous Pig – “What Makes Them Spark” was held on June 26th at the ISU swine teaching farm. Five live market pigs were used for this workshop for demonstration of the topics of discussion.  Ultra-sound scanning for backfat and loin muscle area,  how to properly handle and move, pigs, proper show ring presentation, and wholesale pork cut location on a pig were demonstrated.  Each participant had the opportunity to handle and work with a pig to gain “hands on” experience.

Outcome Statement:  

All workshops had the maximum allowed attendance.  Participants completed an evaluation summary with a scale of 1 as poor and 5 as excellent. The “Fire Up The Grill” workshop had 18 participants who rated the workshop 4.11 for fun, 4.78 for informative, 4.56 for interest, and 4.65 for interactive.  The “Your Senses – They “Ignite the Flame” of Your Food” workshop was attended by 18 participants who provided a rating of 4.06 for fun, 4.71 for informative, 4.47 for interest, and 4.27 for interactive.  The Marvelous Pig – What Make Them Spark! Workshop had 19 participants.  They rated the workshop 4.47 score for fun, 4.68 for informative, 4.63 for interest and 4.53 for interactive.   Some combined comments from the workshops were “The pork tasting was awesome”, “Loved the amount of food”, “Pork is awesome”, “This is great. It kept everyone engaged”!


150 Iowa Pork Industry Center

Page last updated: April 6, 2009
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