On the heels of the "lipstick on a pig" discussion, pork producers from Illinois are weighing in and adding a new perspective geared to "ham up" the conversation.

On Monday morning (Sept. 15), Illinois pork producers will deliver informational material about pork production, a t-shirt stating simply, "Nice Chops," and an original poem with the same moniker, to the Obama and McCain state campaign headquarters in Springfield, IL.

Jim Kaitschuk, executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), says the idea came about because the association received media inquiries about what would happen if someone actually tried to put lipstick on a pig.

“We’re hesitant to wallow in the political arena,” says Kaitschuk. “But this appears to be more than just a pig in a poke. It provided an opportunity to educate and allow both sides to laugh at the circumstances.

"Besides the fact that this is something farmers would never do – because of common sense and because producers are too busy caring for the well-being of the animals – it's a pretty funny proposition," Kaitschuk says with a chuckle. "We’re happy to provide our side of the story. After all, the topic at the center of the controversy – pigs – is our livelihood."

The poem, written on behalf of all Illinois pork producers, reads as follows:
In the land of politics and campaigns galore,
The rhetoric has shifted to lipstick and a boar.
Though putting lipstick on a pig may seem cute,
It's one thing farmers will surely refute.
It wouldn't be sanitary, it wouldn't cross their minds,
To apply a glycerin product -- derived from the pig's behind.
It's a noble profession raising pigs for a living,
A pig is an animal that just keeps on giving.
From bacon to sausage, pepperoni to ham,
We're even linked to your old friend, Uncle Sam!
But did you know we're more than just pork?
Our value extends far beyond the fork.
By-products from pigs make heart valves and plastic,
Crayons, insulin, buttons, even lipstick!
Whatever you think of – bacon, lipstick or ham hocks,
Doesn't matter to us… we say, NICE CHOPS.

Both camps were given a reminder to remember to laugh, and wished a successful journey in their race to the White House.

"The lipstick situation is one where we couldn't pass up the opportunity to participate in the discussion," says Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Nokomis and current IPPA president. "This sets us up nicely for our upcoming October Pork Month activities – some of which will play off the theme of pigs, pork and politics."