AMES, Iowa -- The SowBridge Breeding Herd Education Series is a new distance learning program for pork producers offered through Iowa State University (ISU) and ISU Extension. It's modeled after the popular “PorkBridge” grow-finish series, and combines electronic information viewed on computer with live oral presentations via phone by nationally known experts. ISU animal science associate professor and extension swine specialist Ken Stalder said owners, managers and employees of sow units will find the content helpful.
"We've selected topics and speakers based on information from those associated with sow unit production, including new technology, research, and management techniques related to breeding, gestation, and farrowing management," Stalder said. "This method of delivery allows people to enhance their operation's profitability and increase their knowledge without needing to travel long distances."
SowBridge is a year-long, subscription-only program with monthly programs beginning in October 2007. The week before each session, subscribers receive a CD containing that session’s presentation, along with information on accessing the live speaker presentation. Subscribers call a toll-free conference line to listen to and interact with presenters. Cost for participating in this series of 12 programs is $250, which provides access to one phone line. Each session begins at 11:30 a.m. Central Time and lasts for 45 minutes. Internet access is not required.
Stalder, who also is the Iowa contact for SowBridge, said a single registration can be used to reach a number of people.
"We encourage farm managers and owners to enroll in this program and invite several of their employees to take part over the noon break through use of a speakerphone and computer projector," Stalder said. "This program should also promote interaction within the group afterward, stimulating discussion on how subject matter presented during the session affects them and their operation.”
An informational brochure with subscription information is available on the IPIC Web site at www.ipic.iastate.edu/SowBridge/2007brochure.pdf Iowa residents who want more information can call Stalder at (800) 808-7675.
Registration by Sept. 24 is required in order to participate in the first session.
The SowBridge program is sponsored by Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, The Ohio State University, and South Dakota State University. Mark Whitney and Lee Johnston of the University of Minnesota are the program coordinators.
IPIC was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University (ISU.) 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.