June sees the return of the World Pork Expo in the US. The show often known simply as WPX is back to its regular home in Des Moines, Iowa, on dates of 9th-11th June 2010.
It remains one of the few annual events on the international calendar that is exclusively for the pig sector. Also out of the ordinary is the fact that pig producers organise it. The organisation is done by the National Pork Producers’ Council, the mouthpiece of the US production sector.
Now coming up to its 22nd edition, the World Pork Expo for most of its history has followed a three-day format of opening on a Thursday and closing on the Saturday. This changed in 2009 in favour of a Wednesday start and Friday finish, to fit in more with the requirements of the professional industry and be more suitable for international travelers.
The change was judged a success by most exhibitors and visitors so the Wednesday-to-Friday arrangement is to be repeated in 2010. It means the show will be open between 08:00-17:00 on the Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday’s hours shorter at 08:00 until 13:00.
The venue for the trade fair will be familiar to former WPX visitors as the Iowa State Fairgrounds on the edge of the city of Des Moines. The local airport has frequent shuttle flights to and from the international hubs in the American Midwest such as Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City. By road, the journey from the airport to the showground is a driving time of under 20 minutes.
Trade fair exhibits at the State Fairgrounds will be divided as usual between the Varied Industries Building and the Cattle Barn, with additional displays in the outdoor area between them. But an increasingly notable feature of the expo is the twin line of marquee-type tents that now stretches along the road near the Varied Industries Building. These are used by several exhibiting companies to receive visitors for business conversations during the show as well as to offer lunch-time refreshments.
Expect again in 2010 that there will be around 500 exhibitors represented in these various areas. Additionally, purebred breeders from throughout the USA will be nearby, in the Swine Barn for the 2010 World Pork Expo Breed Show and Sale.
Last year, the total attendance for the three days of WPX was down on those of recent times, with an estimated 15,000 US producers alongside about 3000 visitors from other countries. As World Pork Expo general manager John Wrigley pointed out, the reasons for the downturn were not difficult to find. Not only was there the poor profitability for pork production in North America at the time, but also the media-fuelled scare about a possible H1N1 influenza virus pandemic had interfered seriously with the travel plans of international visitors.
The omens for WPX 2010 certainly look better. H1N1 is little more than a bad memory, while profits have started to return both within the US and in other parts of the world. Expectations are therefore for a bigger turn-out in Des Moines as World Pork Expo’s edition number 22 opens its doors in June.