DES MOINES, IOWA – During the summer, David Hardin, a member of the Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street, spoke to a local Kiwanis Club in Indianapolis, Ind., about current pork industry issues. After a reporter from the Indianapolis Star covered the event, Business Week picked up on the story and reprinted it for a national audience, relays the National Pork Board.

"Since it can seem almost impossible to drum up interest among the local media to cover pork industry stories, I was pleasantly surprised that this story snowballed the way it did," said Mr. Hardin , who manages Hardin Farms near Danville, Ind., an operation that has been in the family for three generations. "No one can tell the pork industry’s story better than producers can, and it has been gratifying to receive a lot of positive comments about the speech and the article."

Mr. Hardin, who has been a member of the Indiana Pork Producers Association board of directors since 2005, is responsible for his family’s 600-sow farrow-to-finish unit that produces 12,000 pigs annually. When he joined the Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street program several years ago, his goal was to make a positive difference for the pork industry.

"With our farm’s close proximity to a metropolitan area like Indianapolis, I have an opportunity to educate people about the ways we operate our business and protect the environment," Mr. Hardin said. "We need to inform our customers about modern pork production, because these folks are voters who could influence our industry’s future."

Mr. Hardin, who speaks to Kiwanis clubs, Rotary groups, Lions Clubs and other civic organizations in his area, said local efforts can help get the pork industry’s message communicated to a wider audience. The average audience size ranges between 15 to 20 people, and approximately 15% have had any direct experience with production agriculture.

Mr. Hardin’s Indianapolis speech, which ignited the spark to write the article "Indiana Pork Industry Facing a Pinch" in the Indianapolis Star and Business Week, included his quotes about the drop in pork demand following the H1N1 flu outbreak, as well as his comments about the pork industry’s economic impact.