Longtime Missouri Pork Association (MPA) Executive Vice President Don Nikodim says the pork industry is doing extremely well in terms of producing.
“Not quite as well in terms of profitability,” Nikodim says. “We seem to be able to produce a lot more pigs than we need from time to time. But it kind of works in cycles and we figure it will come around. There are some trade issues right now that are working through the system.”
Nikodim says he’s optimistic there will be positive news regarding trade with Mexico in the near term.
He also notes the drought has impacted all of agriculture, adding that more cows are going to market.
Nikodim spoke to Missourinet about the pork industry and other key issues Thursday afternoon at the State Fair in Sedalia, after the Governor’s ham breakfast.
Mr. Nikodim is concerned about health ordinances being proposed across Missouri involving concentrated animal feeding operations, which are known as CAFOs.
“The activist groups don’t let up, I mean they’re out there driving issues,” says Nikodim. “They are not a health issue point-blank. It’s a zoning in disguise, most counties know that. I’ve even had county people stand up and say we’ve found a way to zone without zoning. We’ll call it a health ordinance.”
Nikodim says his organization is trying to address health ordinances the best they can.
The issue has come up recently near the mid-Missouri town of Clarksburg in Cooper County, and it’s also come up in neighboring Howard County. Both counties are west of Columbia.
Supporters of health ordinances have raised concerns about groundwater pollution and odor.
Meantime, Nikodim says business was “really good” at the Pork Place restaurant on the State Fairgrounds during the State Fair, which wrapped up Sunday.
He notes the Pork Place began serving at the fairgrounds in 1979, and that they’ll be celebrating their 40th anniversary next year.
“So we’re in the midst of planning some special activities and celebrations for next year, so we’re excited about it,” Nikodim says.
The Pork Place’s air-conditioned building was built in 2009, and their menu has been updated to include items like pulled pork and ribs.
They’ve also added what’s known as the “Pork Stop”, which is a service window for those who want to get a pork burger quickly at the fair.
The restaurant was packed on Thursday afternoon. A Missourinet reporter interviewing Nikodim saw many farmers and lawmakers eating lunch, including U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, and State Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, also visited the Pork Place that day with veteran State Rep. DaRon McGee, D-Kansas City, and took photos with pork producers.
Cleaver tweeted that day, encouraging his constituents to stop by and eat Missouri pork.
We likely won’t learn details about attendance numbers at the 2018 Missouri State Fair for another month.
State Fair marketing director Kari Mergen tells Missourinet they won’t have official numbers until all Orscheln and Break Time outlets have reported.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri Pork Association Executive Vice President Don Nikodim, which was recorded on August 16, 2018 at the State Fair in Sedalia:
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