October is National Pork Month
10-05-2012 in Hogs
By: Rose Koester
With harvest underway and cooler weather coming, there’s no better month to celebrate pork than October! National Pork Month is a special time to recognize pork producers’ hard work and dedication to raising safe, nutritious pork while protecting and promoting animal well-being, safeguarding natural resources and working to better the quality of life in their community.
Pork is a major part of our national, state and local economy. Iowa became the nation’s leading pork-producing state in the 1880s and it continues today with approximately 30 million hogs raised each year. More than 39,000 jobs are directly related to raising and caring for hogs in Iowa, generating nearly $950 million in household income. Pork production alone contributes nearly $5 billion to the state’s economy.
Hogs are also the single largest consumer of Iowa’s corn and soybeans, eating almost one-third of Iowa’s grain production. Hog farmers have made great improvements and changes in genetics, feeding and management practices, resulting in pork that is 31% lower in fat than 20 years ago.
“Pork production has a significant economic impact on the state of Iowa and has provided a way for many young people to return to the family farm,” says Brian Waddingham, Executive Director of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. “Today’s pork producers have respect for the land, pride in their work, and a commitment to their family and community.”
Besides being good for Iowa’s economy, pork is a good protein source for our bodies. Pork is a very lean and nutritious source of tasty protein. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis found that pork tenderloin contains only 2.98 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving. Pork tenderloin now meets the government’s “extra lean” guidelines. There are many different ways to incorporate pork into your diet, so Be Inspired in the kitchen!
Another recent success story in the industry is the new cooking guideline for pork, revealed by the USDA. They now recommend that solid cuts of pork be cooked to 145° internally with a three minute rest period. The temperature will remain constant or rise during that three minute rest period, killing any pathogens. The 145° temperature guidelines will help consumers enjoy pork at its most flavorful, juicy and safe temperature.
This year for October Pork Month, take the time to express your appreciation to the pork producers that provide you with a safe, nutritious and sustainable protein source. For more information about pork, go to www.iowapork.org.
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