Operation Main Street (OMS) will record a milestone later this month as a volunteer speaker achieves the Pork Checkoff-funded program’s 4,000th speech.

“Thanks to our volunteers, OMS has grown into a significant asset for the pork industry and as an important voice for the pork industry’s We Care initiative,” says Perry Aasness, vice president of industry relations for the Pork Checkoff. “OMS speakers are now showing key decision-makers and influencers such as county commissioners, dietitians and small animal veterinarians how pork producers are working hard every day to do the right thing.”

We Care is a pork industry initiative designed to help producers demonstrate their commitment to established ethical principles and animal well-being practices.

Mary Kelpinski, executive director of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, will present the 4,000th OMS speech on Aug. 24 to the Rotary Club in Warren, MI. Kelpinski has been an OMS speaker since September 2008 and has already scheduled 49 OMS speeches. She is among almost 800 OMS trained speakers in 30 states.

Since OMS’ launch in 2004, volunteers have racked up some noteworthy achievements:

  • Sixty-three speakers have scheduled 20 or more speeches.
  • During a two-week period, almost every county commissioner in Nebraska heard from an OMS speaker.
  • One speaker logged 600 miles in one week to give six OMS presentations.

“I am amazed and inspired by how hard these volunteers work every day to build trust and understanding not only in rural communities, but also in urban centers,” says Ernie Barnes, director of industry relations for the Pork Checkoff. “And, they are always ready to step up when there are new challenges and opportunities to help the pork industry.”

The 4,000th speech milestone means:

  • Almost 116,000 consumers and opinion leaders have heard firsthand about the pork industry’s innovation, stewardship and economic impact from bona fide pork producers.
  • More than 17 million people have experienced positive pork industry news coverage based on an OMS media outreach program.

OMS speakers are also trained to speak on behalf of the pork industry on environmental issues, changes in the pork industry, new technologies pork producers use and the positive impact that pork production has on local and state economies.