The Minnesota Pork Board (MPB) and Minnesota Pork Producers Association introduced Oink Outings last summer as a way to listen and respond to consumer questions and concerns on how farmers raise and care for their pigs. The initiative resulted from research showing a vast majority of Minnesotans trust livestock farmers and veterinarians to make the appropriate decisions on livestock care, but they also had a modest level of concern over farm animal treatment.
The primary Oink Outings components, farm tours and booth events, are designed to bridge the farmer and consumer knowledge gap. The farm tour participants are metro-area moms and the booth events take place at Twin Cities’ venues, such as farmer’s markets and community events. To encourage pig farmer and consumer interaction at the booth events and to recognize tour member participation, the MPB donates one pound of ground pork to Second Harvest Heartland for each tour participant and question asked at booth events.
The 2011 campaign generated enough ground pork to feed 1,860 families and the pre- and post-tour survey results showed increases in trust by tour participants. These positive findings led to expanding the Oink Outings campaign in 2012 with more booth events and tour participants.
In addition to beneficial campaign results, Oink Outings won three Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Awards, the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Region 3 Best of Show Public Relations and the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) Arc de Excellence.