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IPPA director talks pork

'Da Burger' is shown at this year's Illinois State Fair in Springfield / CIFN photo.

Anything wrapped in bacon sounds good to the executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association this holiday season.

According to Jennifer Tirey, ham remains a popular choice at Christmas and there are a few new ham recipes out this year.

“The latest I’ve heard is salted carmel ham. Hopefully, a lot of people will be stocking up on those for their festivities,” Tirey said.

Pork production remains highest around the holidays during the fourth quarter of the year. A fairly new pork staple for Illinois is Da Burger – a popular item served at Chicago Blackhawks games. More than 200 events expose Chicago-area consumers to the sandwich, which is made up of pulled pork, ground pork and cheese. Also, the chop on a stick is famous at the Pork Patio during the Illinois State Fair.

“Some of our folks come back and they really do make it a destination at the State Fair which our pig farmers are so grateful for,” added Tirey.

On a more serious note, there are issues which Tirey hopes people are aware of heading into 2017. New veterinary feed directives take place January 1 which require a script from a veterinarian to purchase antibiotics in feed and water.

“Most of our producers have been notified, but making sure you’ve got that veterinary-patient relationship is critical.”

The IPPA is trying to reach out to those in the show pig industry who may not be aware of the new regulations.

Tirey said a series of IPPA roundtable meetings have been held throughout the state where producers can share comments and questions pertaining to the industry. One of the discussion topics includes the 2018 farm bill. Meeting organizers are seeking input from both grain and livestock farmers.

Also, Illinois Pork Expo is just around the corner. The two-day event will be held earlier than usual this year on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield.

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