Regional Pork Conferences Offer Health, Feed and Market Info

Swine producers can catch up on animal welfare and production practices

February 14, 2020, 2:22 pm | Colin Johnson

AMES, Iowa — The annual series of Iowa Pork Regional Conferences has been a long-standing partnership of Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and the Iowa Pork Industry Center.

Their shared goal of bringing research and education to the field continues with this year's program, topics and speakers. There are five sessions, one each day Feb. 17-21, at different locations, all starting at 1 p.m.

conference attendees at a table.ISU Extension and Outreach specialists will offer Pork Quality Assurance Plus training each morning from 9 a.m. to noon at that day’s regional conference site. These training sessions are sponsored by IPPA and are free for those who preregister; conference walk-in cost is $5 per person at the door.

Locke Karriker, professor with the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State, will discuss “Best Practices for Ractopamine Elimination.”

As of this month, all three of the largest pork processors in the U.S. will no longer buy pigs raised with ractopamine. While Smithfield made that decision several years ago, JBS and Tyson announced this past fall that they will implement February stop-buying dates.

Karriker will talk about ways to eliminate that feed ingredient, while striving to increase carcass muscle mass and production efficiency.

Chris Rademacher, clinical professor and extension swine veterinarian at Iowa State, will present the latest on African Swine Fever. With more than 18 months of living with the knowledge that ASF is actively moving in pig populations in Asia, the U.S. pork industry has been making plans to act if the disease reaches the U.S. or even North America.

Rademacher will provide a current update on the movement of the virus and the preparedness activities and planning for Iowa producers.

Lee Schulz, assistant professor and livestock economist at Iowa State, will present “Production, Health, Trade and Tariffs."

He'll follow the discussion of the first two speakers and talk about how those topics will impact the markets, along with how current trade and tariff issues impact prices.

John Patience, professor of animal science at Iowa State, will talk on "Mycotoxins: Impact of Multi-Toxin Contamination."

The 2019 corn crop saw many weather challenges before reaching harvest. Those plant challenges also can be interpreted as pig performance challenges, as Iowa pork producers should keep an eye on issues that a lower-quality corn crop may cause.

Dates and Locations

  • Monday, Feb. 17 – Sheldon; Northwest Iowa Community College, Building A, 603 W. Park St.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18 – Audubon; Recreation Center, 703 Southside Ave.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 19 – Ames; Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Learning Center, 2508 Mortensen Rd.
  • Thursday, Feb. 20 – Washington; Washington County Extension Office, 2223 250th St.
  • Friday, Feb. 21 – Nashua; Borlaug Learning Center, 3327 290th St.

The registration deadline is two business days prior to the location's meeting date. Materials are guaranteed for all who are preregistered. To preregister for any location or for more information, contact the Iowa Pork Producers Association at 800-372-7675 or You also can preregister online at

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