The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 30, 2013

Hog farmers woo Japanese buyers

Trade mission stops in Mankato to hear from area producers

(Continued)

Hiromatsu said he was surprised by the diverse cuts and presentation of American pork. He said he was under the impression that supermarkets here offer only large portions and limited selections.

The delegation is scheduled to visit a Swift plant in Worthington and a Hormel plant in Austin.

Courtland-area pork producers Reuben and Judy Bode were on hand to answer questions about how the hogs are raised. They showed a brief video that showed off the cleanliness of their 2,500-sow farm. Each sow gives birth to about 29 piglets a year. Giving farm tours is difficult because of concerns about spreading disease, so the video was the next-best thing.

Their message was that Minnesota pork producers care deeply about food safety, and the industry is “highly regulated,” as Reuben Bode put it.

Giving the buyers a look at how pork is raised and processed gives them confidence in buying it, Preisler said. And it lets them identify the product with real people, he said.

If these buyers decide to buy American pork, they probably won’t specify that it comes from a particular farmer, or even a particular state. So the delegation won’t be setting up deals with producers, which means the officials won’t know for some time whether the trip bore fruit.

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