Thousands of producers from across the U.S. visited Des Moines last month during World Pork Expo, touring more than 500 exhibits.

They learned about the new Legislative Action Center developed by the National Pork Producers Council (www.nppc.org) to contact members of Congress, and participated in a straw ballot for U.S. president, which showed President George Bush leading Sen. John Kerry by 78% to 22%.

The National Pork Board celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program, launched at World Pork Expo in 1989.

“During the past 15 years, PQA has helped pork producers improve their on-farm production practices and assured consumers both in the U.S. and around the world that U.S. pork is a safe, wholesome product,” says Ionia, IA, producer Leon Sheets, chair of the National Pork Board's Producer Education Committee.

Also at Expo, Mike and Beth Wozniak of Brimfield, IL, were named grand champions in the 17th annual Great Pork Barbeqlossal. They received the $3,000 grand prize and a Kingfisher Kooker valued at $1,700.