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Iowa Ag News Headlines
PorkBridge Educational Series Begins 13th Year
Iowa Ag Connection - 01/09/2018

PorkBridge, a distance education series for those who work with grow-finish operations, begins Feb. 1. This low-tech program features topics presented by recognized industry experts and is provided through the collaboration of swine faculty and staff from 11 land-grant universities. PorkBridge reaches producers and industry professionals across the country and around the world through an every-other-month series of six sessions.

Iowa State University animal science professor and extension swine specialist Ken Stalder is the Iowa contact for PorkBridge. He describes the program as a source of relevant and accurate information for those who own, manage or work in swine grow-finish facilities.

"Producers and others in the industry can get the information they need without the hassle of traveling or giving up an entire day to attend a meeting," Stalder said. "PorkBridge participants can take part where it works best for them whether at home, in an office or in the swine unit. And all can listen later to the audio we record of each live session."

PorkBridge combines electronic materials with teleconferenced presentations by topic speakers. About a week before each session, subscribers receive a web link to download the session's presentation and any additional information provided by the presenter. Those who request it also receive the same materials via mailed CD. Participants call in for the audio portion of each session and follow along with their own copy of the presentation on their computer or other device.

Based on participant suggestions and personal experience, organizers decided to move up the time of these sessions to 11:30 a.m. Central Time. Stalder said they hope the slightly earlier timeframe will allow more people to participate in the live sessions. Sessions are generally scheduled for the first Thursday of each designated month, starting at 11:30 a.m. Central Time, but occasionally are moved up a week to avoid interference with national industry events. Each session lasts about 45 minutes.

"The registration amount has not changed since the program began in 2005. This remains a tremendous deal at only $125 for the entire year," Stalder said. "Each subsequent registration from the same entity is half that amount. Each registration provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration, including audio recordings of the live session."

Program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses. To have questions about the program answered, contact Sherry Hoyer at Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University. Hoyer can be reached by phone at 515-294-4496 or email shoyer@iastate.edu.

A video of a sample PorkBridge session, https://youtu.be/F2SPe6-pWgM, was created using the 2017 Dale Ricker presentation material and audio recording "Sights, Sounds and Smells of a Normal Finisher Barn."

The subscription and payment form is available online for download; payment must be received by Jan. 16 to assure receipt of program materials in time for the first session on Feb. 1. Iowa residents who want more information can call Stalder at 800-808-7675.

The dates, speakers and their industry affiliations, and topics to be covered during the 2018 PorkBridge educational series are:

Feb. 1 -- Jamie Eggers, National Pork Board, "Common Swine Industry Audit--Updates and Opportunities for Improvements

April 5 -- Kyle Coble, New Fashion Pork, "How Non-Antibiotic Farms are Successful"

May 31 -- Dave Thompson, Michigan State University "Effective Disinfectant Rotations"

Aug. 2 -- Pete Raynor, University of Minnesota, UMASH, "Factors Influencing Air Pollutant Levels in Swine Barns"

Oct. 4 -- Maria Pieters, University of Minnesota, "Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae Diagnostics"

Dec. 6 -- Mike Ellis, University of Illinois, "Sorting Pigs in Wean-to-Finish Facilities to Maximize Output"

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