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Bacon Bonanza - Illinois Pork Industry Takes Center Stage

Bacon Bonanza - Illinois Pork Industry Takes Center Stage

By Andi Anderson

The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) recently marked a savory occasion at the Illinois State Capital by celebrating the inaugural "Illinois Bacon Day," as designated by Senate Joint Resolution 50, spearheaded by Senator Tom Bennett. This flavorful day, falling on May 1st, pays homage to the pork industry's significance in Illinois, a sentiment echoed by Bennett, who proudly represents pig farmers in his senate district.

During the festivities, Illinois pig farmers, IPPA staff, and FFA state officers gathered to distribute mouthwatering BLT sandwiches to legislators, engaging in discussions highlighting the pivotal role of pork production in Illinois. As the fourth largest pork-producing state in the nation, Illinois churns out over six billion slices of bacon annually, meeting the insatiable demand that sees the average American consuming about 18 pounds of bacon per year.

Beyond satisfying bacon cravings, the pork industry in Illinois serves as a robust economic engine, generating over 57,000 jobs and contributing an estimated $13.8 billion to the state's economy. Cheryl Walsh, President of IPPA, underscores the association's commitment to public education on pork production, particularly for stakeholders outside rural districts. "Illinois Bacon Day" serves as a bridge for producers to engage legislators personally and share insights into their industry.

President Walsh, along with IPPA Vice President Josh Maschhoff and At-Large Directors Bruce Brinkman and Kristi Smith, seized the opportunity to shed light on the daily hurdles faced by pig farmers. Challenges such as market fluctuations, environmental sustainability, high feed costs, and disease preparedness underscore the resilience and adaptability required in this sector.

In a show of solidarity, nineteen local restaurants joined the celebration by featuring bacon or pork specials on their menus. Additionally, consumers were encouraged to #BringHomeTheBacon by incorporating bacon or any pork product into their grocery purchases, thereby supporting the 96% of Illinois farms that are family-owned.

"Illinois Bacon Day" serves as more than just a delicious celebration; it's a platform to recognize the dedication and contributions of Illinois pig farmers while fostering greater awareness and appreciation for the state's vibrant pork industry.

Photo Credit: illinois-pork-producers-association

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Categories: Illinois, Livestock, Hogs

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