Bring home the bacon during National Pork Month
Although cooler weather is on the way and the summer months are dwindling, we can always find an excuse to celebrate our pride for Wisconsin’s pork industry.
Pork not only tastes fantastic, but it also plays a key role in our culture. We all know Wisconsin is famous for bratwursts, and it is no secret that we do them well! As the leaves begin to change and the temperature falls, there are still many ways to enjoy pork at home.
Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. Did you know that pork is the most widely consumed and versatile protein in the world? Pork can be used in a variety of ways, but it is also available in many different forms. From spiral ham during the holidays to bacon for breakfast and charcuterie meats on cheese boards, pork can be eaten as a snack or meal any time of year.
As of December 1, 2021, there were 370,000 hogs and pigs on Wisconsin farms. Every day, Wisconsin farmers work hard to care for and produce high quality products for consumers around the world. Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork has 16 percent less fat and 27 percent less saturated fat as compared to 1991. Many cuts of pork are now as lean as a skinless chicken breast.
The value of production from Wisconsin’s hog industry totaled $132 million in 2020, up nearly $23 million from 2018. Cash receipts were valued at about $136 million, which was also an increase of almost $16 million from 2018.
As a consumer, I value and love the variety of options of pork available in the grocery store, and I admire the nutritional value of each cut. Each market hog represents 371 servings of pork that are packed with key nutrients such as protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and niacin. Eating pork is not only a healthy choice, but one that is packed with delicious flavor that we all love.
As you hit the grocery store this month, I encourage you to seek out new pork options and try new recipes. Whether you are interested in making ground pork tacos, oven baby back ribs, or trying a pork roast in a crockpot, pork is easy to prepare and the perfect fuel for Wisconsin families. Buying local products keeps the dollars you spend on food close to your community, while supporting our state’s farmers, processors, communities, and economies.
If you are looking for inspiration, visit pork.org for a variety of recipes and information about different cuts of pork.
Taylor Schaefer is Wisconsin's 75th Alice in Dairyland