SA's struggling pig farmers are hopeful a social media campaign aimed at getting people eating more Australian pork will go some way to counteract the huge oversupply problem facing the industry.
Last week former pig farmer and SA media identity Andrew ‘Cosi’ Costello started putting up Facebook posts aimed at educating the public of the crisis the industry was facing and encouraging them to seek out Australian product.
In under a week, the three posts Mr Costello put up had a reach of 259,231 people, 17,324 engagements and 54,463 video views.
Mr Costello said it made sense to support the industry, considering his long involvement with it.
“My first job was at a piggery in Bute, I worked there from the time I was 14-years-old,” he said. “I worked with pigs until I was 24, at piggeries in Two Wells, Mallala, Murray Bridge, Jervois, Shea-Oak Log and Wasleys.”
Mr Costello encouraged post viewers to look for the pink Australian Pork mark.
“I’m very parochial and love supporting SA,” he said.
“I always thought the bacon I was buying was Australian, but only last week, when I looked at the packet, I realised only 20 per cent of it was local.”
Another initiative, Pork SA’s support of the Adelaide-based homeless charity Catherine House, which began in May, has been extended at least until Christmas. Catherine House fundraising manager Jaylee Cooper said it was pleasing the weekly pork donations would be continuing.
“Our clients are loving it,” she said.
Pork SA chairman Mark McLean said he was pleased by the early response to the social media campaign. But he said one driver that would make a major difference to producers would be more Australian-grown pigs being used in processed pork products.
“If the percentage of Australian pork used in the ham and bacon manufactured in Australia increased, it would make a huge difference to the oversupply issue,” he said.
Free counselling is available to producers through Rural Business Support – freecall 1800 836 211.