Pork Producer and Consumer Educational Programming

July-September 2002

Jerry Weiss , swine field specialist

Situation

One of my key program components for the Iowa Pork Industry Center includes producer and consumer education relating to pork quality and food safety issues. Swine meat packers are demanding from the pork producer a chemical and microbial safe animal. They are enforcing this through the use of the Pork Quality Assurance Level III program. Swine meat packers are in turn following up with the HACCP program within their plants to assure consumers that they are purchasing a clean, wholesome, healthy pork product at the meat counter. This requires an educational program for pork producers, packers and consumers.


Response

Working with our youth through the Iowa 4-H program is the first step in working with the pork producer of the future. I was instrumental in the development of a pilot Pork Quality Assurance program for youth. We put a program together utilizing materials developed by staff in the 4-H department at Iowa State University and National Pork Producers. I formed a committee consisting of county extension educators and county youth coordinators. Together we put together a teaching outline, hands-on teaching tools and written materials. We used materials developed by other organizations such as the "Swine Handling & Transportation" training kit. This material was funded by the Iowa Farm Bureau. We also used hands-on teaching tools from a kit I had previously put together teaching high school Vo Ag pork production classes classes and new employee training. We also put together a pork quality and food safety presentation which targeted the pork producer as well as the consumer.

A Pork Quality Assurance Level III program was then set up in each of the eight counties I work in. Each of these counties requested all the 4-Hers who will show pigs at the county fair to go through this program if they were not currently PQA Level III certified or if they needed re-certification . This workshop would then qualify them to become certified through National Pork Producers.

The materials that was put together on food safety were presented to the 4-Hers. In addition , I also used these same materials plus fresh cuts of pork in presenting a program at the Buena Vista County Fair titled " A Look at the Meat You Eat". These same teaching materials plus others were used in presenting two workshops, Pork 101, at the 4-H Annual Conference.


Impact

As an outcome of these eight PQA workshops, 159 4-Hers became qualified in the PQA Level lll program. Approximately 40% of these 4-Hers were in their first year in pork production and having a swine project.

The meat quality program I gave at the Buena Vista County fair was attended by over 30 people, all being pork product consumers.
The Pork 101 workshops that we presented at the 4-H Annual Conference were attended by 27 young people. We had prepared a lot of written educational materials that they took back to their 4-H clubs. This program was also designed for future use in schools and adult education settings.

 

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