This is advertiser content for Australian Pork.
Pork has become increasingly popular amongst Australians in recent years.
Pork is so versatile you can eat bacon for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch or a healthy serve of pork fillet for dinner.
In fact, between June 2011 and June 2019 pork consumption for dinner has grown by 2.5 kg per Australian, making pork the fastest growing mainstream meat.
This volume growth has been driven by plentiful supply and producer levy funded "Get some pork on your fork" advertising executed by Australian Pork Limited (APL) in the major cities. More recently producers are starting to see demand converted into returns at the farm gate as pork prices have risen.
It is not only Australians that have been enjoying the innovation and progress in the Australian pork industry. The planet is benefitting too. A recent study conducted by Integrity Ag & Environment found that since 1980, the Australian pig industry has reduced water use by 80 per cent, land use by 63 per cent and greenhouse gases by 69 per cent.
In fact, the Department of the Environment and Energy's Australia's emission projection report that pigs account for much less carbon dioxide emissions than crops, sheep, fertilisers, grass-fed cattle and dairy industries.
This places Australian pig production amongst the world best in the area.
Edwina Beveridge, a pork producer from Blantrye Farms near Young in NSW has a great story to tell around innovation and environmental responsibility. Her farm processes over 13,500 tonnes of food waste from various food companies that would otherwise go to landfill.
Under the supervision of an expert in nutrition, these food products are fed to healthy pigs, reducing 13,500 tonnes of landfill to around 250 tonnes. In addition, Edwina uses a gas capture blanket to recycle methane from pig waste. This is used to generate electricity on-farm which not only powers the farm but can also be sold back to the grid.
Another innovation, a world first in fact, is that in 2010, Australian pork producers voted to voluntarily remove individual gestation stalls for pregnant sows.
This vote at an APL industry meeting planned to incorporate this in a new government guidelines. Whilst it cost farmers more than $50 million in infrastructure and change management costs, now the majority of Australian pork is farmed to voluntarily work to higher welfare standards than those required by law or those employed overseas.
In addition, APL has been proactively working with governments to review the current legislated minimum animal welfare standards to incorporate the latest scientific knowledge.
An additional factor has been the development of a world-class quality assurance standard led by APL's Australian Pork Industry Quality Assurance Program (APIQ®) team.
This program covers around 80 per cent of Australian pigs and means that all APIQ® properties are audited by an independent inspector every year on over 70 standards.
The program is comprehensive and has modules covering all types of pig production. APIQ® has contributed to increased consumption and to the provenance stories of many producers.
An example of a great provenance is the story of Judy and Tim Croagh from Western Plains Pork in Victoria. They use a paddock rotation method to manage their farm in an environmentally responsible manner, with APIQ® Free Range accreditation and excellent customer focus to grow pigs to supply the pork that their chef customers want.
Judy also works closely with chefs to make sure their restaurants have a top-class story for their menus. A provenance story that combines innovation, high quality, an environmental best practice and a welfare element is pretty powerful.
But there is a threat overseas that all Australians can help protect our pig farmers from. Beyond Australia's shores, a virus called African swine fever is devastating pig herds across China and much of Asia, Belgium and much of eastern Europe.
African swine fever is a virus, which is hard to kill and very hard to eradicate. Strains of the virus can cause up to 100 per cent of the infected pigs to die. So far it is estimated that the Chinese herd has shrunk by between 100-200 million pigs (almost a third of China's production - that is almost a sixth of global pork production). To put the scale in context, that is between 20 and 40 times the number of pigs Australia produces in a year.
There is not enough pork traded in the world to fill that gap. Now that the Philippines, Cambodia Laos, Vietnam, South Korea, Myanmar, Timor Leste and a number of European countries have the disease it is as critical as ever to maintain Australia's biosecurity.
You too can help to keep pork on the menu
Obviously, Australia is famous for our high meat safety standards and everyone in the pork industry is calling on all of their fellow Australians to help keep out this deadly disease. Pork producers are each individually reinforcing the biosecurity on their own properties. APL is working with all Australian governments to develop contingency plans.
There are steps that all Australians can take to help keep Australia free of the disease. These include:
- Discourage friends and family from bringing home any pork products from overseas (or posting any)
- Make sure you diligently wash any shoes or clothes if you have visited any of the countries, where African swine fever has been detected
- If you have been overseas, don't go onto a property that has pigs for at least ten days - and ensure you thoroughly shower and wash your clothes several times
- Avoid going onto farms that have pigs on them unless there are at least three days between visits
- Do not feed pigs scraps of human food, leave the feeding of pigs to the pig owner.
The Australian Pork website has lots of healthy, tasty pork recipes for you to try.
If you are looking for inspiration, why not get on trend and try this easy pork recipe tonight?
This is advertiser content for Australian Pork.