Piggy Products Offer Everything But the Oink
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ The hog professional and swine groupie alike can buy nearly anything involving pigs but the oink at the World Pork Expo, which opened Friday.
Products for farmers range from a Preg-Tone ultrasound device for detecting new life in breeding sows to a Burn-Easy incinerator for disposing of dead animals.
There are pig pen playthings for livestock and pigskin fashions for their owners.
″If you want to see hog equipment, you come. It’s all here,″ said Bill Hill, a hog farmer who drove seven hours from Coffeen, Ill., to attend the expo, that runs through Sunday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Marcial Ramos had an even longer trip - 30 hours from Manila in the Philippines, where he is a farm consultant specializing in swine.
″I’m interested in new technologies,″ said Ramos, who was checking out hog feeding systems and breeding stock for sale.
Pork buying teams from several nations are among the estimated 80,000 visitors expected at the sixth annual Expo.
Iowa is a natural host for the show put on by the National Pork Producers Council. Selling swine is a $3 billion-a-year business in Iowa, which accounts for one out of every four hogs raised for slaughter in the United States.
Courting the thousands of farmers gathered at the exhibition are the booths of 525 exhibitors.
Robert Beer, vice president for sales of Roebic Laboratories Inc. of Orange, Conn., is selling manure liquefier at $30 a gallon. Beer recommends mixing one gallon of the product with 20,000 gallons of manure for a fine fertilizer.
Renco Corp. of Minneapolis is offering ultrasound equipment ranging from $225 to $1,800 for testing sows for pregnancy and hogs for their fat and muscle content.
″People are eating less fat, more lean. That’s what’s driving this market,″ says Douglas Taggart, Renco’s marketing director.
Piggie toys are for sale too.
For $6.75, Agri-Engineering Inc. of Goshen, Ind., will sell you a brightly colored polyethylene ball that can be filled with water.
Pigs push the balls around the sty, reducing stress and preventing attacks on penmates, the manufacturer says.
For the pig fancier, there are $9 piggy banks, a $37 binder containing a ″Pork: The Other White Meat″ calculator, and $6 hot pad mittens in the shape of a pigs face.
Lu Medill of Peru, Ill., caters to those who make pigs a fashion statement.
For $189, her Lu’s Boutique will sell you a pigskin aviator’s jacket. For $278, you can buy a tall-size pig suede sports coat.
She also sells fashions with lamb and cow leather, but adds, ″When you come to a pork show, you’ve got to have pig leather.″