On behalf of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Board of Directors and staff, I welcome you to the 2017 Iowa Pork Congress. This is our 45th convention and tradeshow, and it seems like the show just keeps getting bigger and better every year.

The tradeshow’s popularity with companies who market to pork producers has never been greater, and we’ve taken steps this year to expand and give you more options to consider.

The area formerly known as the Pork Information Plaza has been relocated to Hall "A" immediately north of the main tradeshow floor at the Iowa Events Center. The IPPA, Pork Checkoff, National Pork Producers Council, Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, Iowa State University and several other organizations are changing locations to allow for more commercial exhibitors.

Continued strong attendance by producers from Iowa and around the Midwest has made this expansion possible. We thank the companies who exhibit with us year after year and are pleased that we can bring new companies into the show.

The tradeshow is always a major draw for attendees, but the seminars also are extremely popular and well attended. The IPPA staff has scheduled another strong lineup of offerings this year with equally impressive speakers and I believe you will find these sessions timely and informative.

Margin management, the Veterinary Feed Directive and swine health trends are just a few of the topics being covered in the 10 seminars scheduled. Dr. Chris Rademacher, Pat Von Tersch and Dr. Rodger Main are among the expert presenters. Several producers also will provide personal perspective in some of the seminars.

Dr. Lowell Catlett believes this is the best time to be in agriculture, but there are five trends that he feels will make it even better. Dr. Catlett will provide a thought-provoking keynote presentation that will both inspire and entertain. He’s an exciting futurist you will want to hear at 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 25.

With all of the activities held each year, you could easily spend most of the week with us. It all starts on Monday, Jan. 23, with the annual Taste of Elegance reception. The IPPA annual meeting and Pork Congress kickoff reception and auction will follow on Tuesday. We will hold the annual awards banquet on Jan. 25, and the ninth annual Youth Swine Judging contest will be held on Jan. 26 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

We’re happy to offer the Pork Congress each year and are excited about the 2017 version. I invite you to take advantage of as many of the activities and seminars as possible. The Pork Congress is a great place to learn and share ideas, and it’s our hope that you gain new insights and knowledge of pork production that will enable to you to become even more successful in the industry.

Enjoy the show!

Al Wulfekuhle

2016 IPPA President