Calling all Nebraska 4-H and FFA Members – We want to thank YOU!

2009 FFA and 4-H Thank You DinnerThe Nebraska Pork Producers Association wants to show its appreciation and support of Nebraska’s agricultural youth by serving 4-H and FFA members a FREE barbecue pork lunch with all the fixing’s at this year’s Nebraska State Fair.

On Sunday, September 5, 2010 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. we hope you join us at the 4-H Cafe, which is East of the Market Place in the Nebraska State Fair grounds in Grand Island, Neb.

To help us plan the perfect event with plenty of food, 4-H, FFA members and families please reserve your tickets with either your FFA Advisor, County Extension Office or through the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (RSVP Form or Kyla at (402) 472-2528).

NPPA is glad to say “Thank You” to all Nebraska youth actively involved with agriculture and to all those who have helped them on the way!

Swine Barns Exposed

PigletsWant to see how pork producers care for their animals, up close and personal? Here’s your chance to see a 24-hour webcam in two swine barns at Belstra Milling Company in DeMotte, Indiana.

The web cameras are in two of Belstra Milling’s swine barns to allow anyone to observe what happens inside a swine barn. The site is Belstra Milling Company vice president, Malcom De Kryger, says his folks are proud of how they handle the animals and want to share what they do day-to day.

The two swine barns that you can see are the Breeding Barn and the Farrowing Barn. The Breeding Barn is where sows are bred as they come into “heat.” The Gestation Barn is where the sows live until they are ready to give birth or “farrow.” Belstra Milling breeds 55 sows per week with 90% being sows and 10% being gilts (females that have never had a litter before).

The Farrowing Barn is where the piglets are born. Belstra Milling has two employees that are specially trained to monitor all of the deliveries. They make sure everything goes well during delivery, and then give the piglets a check-up and their first vaccinations.

To see a Belstra Milling “Day on the Farm” video, click here.

New dietary guidelines support pork

By Pork Checkoff Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new 2010 Dietary Guidelines offer good news for pork, since the recommendations reaffirm lean meat’s nutrient value and role in a healthy diet.

“Pork is a quality protein that provides many under-consumed vitamins and minerals, and we have a good story to tell about pork’s nutritional content,” says Adria Sheil-Brown, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communication and research for the Pork Checkoff. “We are working to ensure that USDA is aware of the importance of quality protein in a balanced diet and does not deemphasize the importance of lean meat, such as pork.”

In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the Meat & Beans Group recommendation for the base USDA food grouping remains the same. The National Pork Board believes the current dietary guideline of an average of 5.5 ounce equivalents in the meat and beans group (based on a 2,000 calories/day diet) remains appropriate, based on the preponderance of scientific evidence.

Additional dietary recommendations include vegetarian versions of eating patterns, but the USDA report supports lean meat in the context of a healthful lifestyle. Red meat provides many under-consumed nutrients such as potassium, phosphorous and vitamin B12, says Sheil-Brown, who notes that vital nutrients such as iron and zinc are more easily absorbed when they come from meat rather than vegetables.

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Have you seen what bacon can do?

Rainbow Bacon

Throughout my two years of working as an intern at the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, I have encountered many new, exciting edible and non-edible bacon based products. I have eaten maple bacon ice cream created by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Dairy Store. I have eaten bacon with eggs and eaten it around pork chops. I have even put Bacon Chapstick on my lips at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. I have seen Bacon Flavored Vodka  and personally enjoyed eating Chocolate Covered Bacon Candy Bars.  

However, I doubt I have seen all that bacon can do. There are so many more possibilities that bacon can do – its potential is endless!

Here are a few items that I have heard of or seen in the news that I think are the most “creative” in bacon based products, in no particular order.

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Grab your groupies and get grilling for NPB’s national photo contest

Gather your grilling groupies and turn on your TVs and radios because Food Network’s Melissa d’Arabian will be hitting the airwaves with tips and recipes to help grillers tame the flame with pork this summer! As a mother of four, and as the host of “Ten Dollar Dinner,” Melissa d’Arabian will be sharing her fun, family-friendly pork recipe for BBQ Blade Steak Papillotes (“food in foil”), and she’ll also be kicking off the National Pork Board’s national photo contest, “Calling All Grillers with Groupies!”

Through August 31, 2010, National Pork Board and America’s pork producers are looking for the ultimate griller with the greatest of grilling groupies to enter the photo contest! Grilling gurus can visit and submit a photo with a caption that explains how they enjoy spending time at the grill with their grilling groupies. The contest is that simple! Take a picture, write a 50 word max caption about you and your grilling groupies and submit it online!

Nothing brings people together during the summer months like food on the grill. And what’s a griller without a little help from their grilling “groupies” – those friends and family members who serve as the sidekick, the sous chef, the bartender to the “grilltender” duties or simply someone to keep the laughs flowing freely.

If you need any ideas, Melissa d’Arabian has some great tips on throwing the ultimate pork grilling party. And if you need ideas on just what to grill, the Food Network Host has great ideas to help you out there too!

One grand prize winner will have a chance to cook alongside Melissa d’Arabian during the New York City Wine and Food Festival this October. So grab your friends, start the grill on and grill with your groupies!