October is Pork Month, a time to celebrate the diversity as well as delicious products that come from pigs: pork chops, ham, brats, and my favorite, bacon.

According to retail scanner data and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, the top five most popular pork cuts sold are boneless New York chops, back ribs, bone-in chops, spareribs and boneless tenderloin. Are any of those meat products a part of your tailgating parties?

It’s no secret that Iowa leads the nation in pig production, but you may not realize that there are multiple products we use every day made from parts of a pig.

These include insulin for the regulation of diabetes; valves for human heart surgery; suede for shoes and clothing; and gelatin for food and non-food uses, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Swine by-products also play important parts in products like water filters, insulation, rubber, antifreeze, some plastics, floor waxes, crayons, chalk, violin strings, adhesives and fertilizer.

Lard, the fat from pig abdomens, is used in shaving creams, soaps, make-up, baked goods and other foods.

In addition to tasty meat and life-saving products, Iowa’s pork industry provides more than 40,000 jobs in the state and pig farming represents $7.5 billion in total economic activity for Iowa, according to Spencer Parkinson of Decision Innovation Solutions and Iowa State University.

So as you mull over new pork recipes, raise your pork-chop-on-a-stick and celebrate pork this October and the farm families who raise safe, nutritious pork in a responsible manner.

By Bethany Baratta. Bethany is Iowa Farm Bureau's Commodities Writer.