SowBridge Educational Series Builds on Subscriber Input

Register by Feb. 14 to ensure material receipt by the first session on March 2.

 AMES, Iowa -- The successful distance education program SowBridge begins its fourth year in March 2011 and Iowa State University (ISU) animal science associate professor and extension swine specialist Ken Stalder said suggestions from subscribers help maintain the program’s value to the industry.

“We asked participants for suggestions on topics and speakers, and are happy to continue providing current content on topics that people are interested in,” Stalder said. “SowBridge provides all participants with the opportunity to hear directly from experts, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions.”

Stalder, who also is the Iowa contact for SowBridge, said the program is intended for people involved in managing or caring for boars, sows, and/or their litters, including operation owners, employees, technicians, managers, and technical service providers. SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools, techniques and technologies involved in daily care of the breeding herd and piglets.

“People from the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and West Indies took part in this past year’s program, and they told us they appreciated having all employees participate in the sessions without requiring any travel or other expenses,” Stalder said. “With the live phone presentation and slideshow viewed on computer, participants do not need Internet access and can take part from anywhere.”

Something new this year is a special rate for entities with more than one location. Cost is $250 ($U.S.) for the first registration from an entity and $125 for each subsequent subscription from the same entity. This provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration. Stalder said materials, delivery process and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses, and encouraged potential subscribers from outside the U.S. to contact IPIC at 515-294-4496 or for more information.

Before each session, U.S. subscribers receive a CD containing that session’s presentation, along with information on accessing the live speaker presentation. Most participants will call a toll-free conference line to listen to and interact with presenters. Each session begins at 11:30 a.m. Central Time and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Stalder said the year-long program is offered by subscription only with a Feb. 14, 2011 deadline to ensure participants will receive materials for the first session on March 2.

A brochure with information and registration form is available on the IPIC website at Iowa residents who want more information can call Stalder at 800-808-7675.

SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 state universities with Mark Whitney and Lee Johnston of the University of Minnesota serving as program coordinators. The program is coordinated through Iowa State.

IPIC was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. Its mission is to promote efficient pork production technologies in Iowa, maintain Iowa's pork industry leadership and strengthen rural development efforts. IPIC focuses its efforts on programs that are integral and complementary to ISU Extension. Through IPIC, Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to make their operations more efficient and profitable.