WILLMAR, Minn. — Registration for both PorkBridge and SowBridge distance education programs is now open. PorkBridge is for those who own, manage or work in swine grow-finish facilities. SowBridge is for people involved in managing or caring for sows, and/or their litters, and boars — including operation owners, caretakers, technicians, managers and technical service providers. Both programs begin in early February.

University of Minnesota Swine Extension Educator Sarah Schieck Boelke said the programs offer accurate and timely information on a variety of topics through a regular schedule that is delivered via teleconference. 

“Producers and others in the industry can get the information they need without the hassle of traveling or giving up a whole day to attend a meeting,” Schieck Boelke said. “Participants in the PorkBridge and SowBridge programs can take part where it works best for them whether at home, in an office or in the swine unit. And whether or not they can participate in the live session, all sessions are recorded and audio files are available for download from each session for later use.”

The PorkBridge program has six sessions generally offered on the first Thursday of every other month starting in February 2021. All sessions start at 11:15 a.m. and will last a maximum of 60 minutes, which includes time for questions. Cost for the series is $100 for the first registration from an entity and $50 for each subsequent registration from the same entity.

PorkBridge 2021 sessions are as follows:

Feb. 4  — “How to Handle Activists on Farms.” Jen Sorenson, Iowa Select Farms.

April 1 — “Mental Health for Pig Barn Workers.” Monica McConkey, Rural Mental Health Specialist, Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

June 3  — “In-barn Impacts on Pork Quality.” Matt Ritter, Provimi

Aug. 5 — “Water Management to Maximize Performance.” Nat Stas, PIC

Oct. 7  — “Biosecurity for Grow-Finish Production.” Jeff Blythe, DVM, Pipestone Veterinary Services

Dec. 2  — “Interventions to Reduce Mortality: Postweaning.” Chris Rademacher, Iowa State University.

Registration information for PorkBridge can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension webpage under courses and events at z.umn.edu/PorkBridgeRegistration.

The SowBridge program has 12 monthly sessions throughout the year generally scheduled for the first Wednesday of the month. All sessions start at 11:15 a.m. and last no longer than 60 minutes, which includes time for questions. Cost for the series is $200 for the first registration from an entity and $100 for each subsequent registration from the same entity.

SowBridge 2021 sessions are as follows:

Feb. 3 — “Day One Sow Care.” Ashley Johnson, DVM, Zoetis. 

March 3 — “Preventing Covid-19 on Swine Farms.” Erin Ehinger, Provimi North America

April 7 — “Mental Health of Barn Workers.” Robin Tutor Marcom, North Carolina Agromedicine Institute. 

May 5 — “Gilt Development.” Steve Brier, Smithfield.

June 2 — “How to Handle Activists on Farms.” Jen Sorenson, Iowa Select Farms.

July 7 — “Litter Size Adjustment Strategies.” Steve Horton, Thomas Livestock.

Aug. 4 — “Sow Lifetime Productivity Findings.” Jennifer Patterson, University of Alberta.

Sept. 1 — “Pig Farm Safety Practices.” Melissa Millerick-May/ Beth Ferry, Michigan State University.

Oct. 6 — “Gilt Synchronization Tools and Techniques.” Tim Safranski, University of Missouri.

Nov. 3 — “Economics of Mortalities on Sow Farms.” Caleb Shull, The Maschhoffs.

Dec. 1 — “Interventions to Reduce Mortalities: Pre-weaning.” Kara Stewart, Purdue University.

Jan. 5, 2022 — “Sow Lameness.” Benny Mote, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Registration information for SowBridge can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension webpage under courses and events at z.umn.edu/SowBridgeRegistration.

Before each session, subscribers will receive an email message with links to download materials for that session. During the scheduled time, participants call in to listen to and interact with the presenter. 

To get a sample of each program, people can view a PorkBridge and SowBridge session from 2017 at https://z.umn.edu/PB-sample and https://z.umn.edu/SB-sample respectively.

This article was submitted by University of Minnesota Extension.

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