DES MOINES, IOWA – Last week, volunteer Operation Main Street speakers presented the Pork Checkoff-funded program's 3,000th speech. The O.M.S. program involves pork-producer volunteers getting into their communities and demonstrating to consumers that they share the same values concerning the well being of their animals, the environment and the importance of contributing to the local community.
This 3,000th speech milestone means:
- Some 86,831 community opinion leaders have heard about the pork industry's innovation, stewardship and economic impact from actual pork producers.
- More than 4.5 million people have seen positive pork industry news coverage based on an O.M.S. media outreach program.
Carrie Pollard, technical services manager for Bethany Animal Hospital in DeKalb, Ill., gave the 3,000th speech to the Kiwanis Club in Rochelle, Ill. Ms. Pollard has been an O.M.S. speaker since Sept. 2006 and has already scheduled 57 O.M.S. speeches.
"We feel the training and experience our O.M.S. speakers receive make them a key resource to educate the public about important industry issues," said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. "Consumers also want to hear from people with firsthand knowledge about how their food is produced. When our producers show and tell how they run their operations, they are working to earn the trust of consumers and the community."
O.M.S., which launched in November of 2004, has grown from 15 volunteer pork producers to 677 trained speakers. These speakers are telling the industry's story to regional and county planning commissions, government-related associations, governor's conferences and civic groups in 26 states.
Producers and other industry leaders receive intensive speaker training and updates during O.M.S. training on emerging issues so they can speak on behalf of the pork industry. Topics covered include environmental issues, changes in the pork industry, new technologies pork producers use and the positive impact pork production has on local and state economies.
"We want to do all we can to provide our speakers with the support they need to be successful," said Ernie Barnes, director of industry services for the Pork Checkoff. "And we continue to evolve the program to keep pace with new forms of communication such as social media."