National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) officials report that while attendance at World Pork Expo (WPX) 2003 declined, enthusiasm was high, sparked by producer and exhibitor optimism about the industry's future.

Attendance for the three-day show in Des Moines, IA, was pegged at 27,716, down from last year's figure of 39,200. Reasons included fear of international travel due to SARS, the war with Iraq and the low hog prices.

Some 285 international visitors registered, but actual attendance by international visitors/exhibitors was estimated at 500-750, say NPPC officials. Normally, WPX draws 2,000-2,500 international guests. The total number of exhibitors declined to 475 from 525 last year. World Pork Expo 2004 is set for June 10-12 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.