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Serving: IA
Colorized photo highlights a group of piglets beside a sow Farm Progress
CONVENIENT: SowBridge is an opportunity to view and listen to presentations via teleconference online.

Register for SowBridge educational series

Distance learning program begins in February.

SowBridge, the distance educational series for people who work with sows, boars and piglets, and those who work with genetic and reproductive issues in swine, begins its next program year in February, with registration underway.

This low-tech opportunity pairs electronically provided materials with live presentations via teleconference. Suggestions from past participants help with planning the next year’s topics and speakers, and maintain the program’s value, says Ken Stalder, Iowa State University Extension swine specialist. 

“Each year we ask participants for suggestions on topics and speakers, and follow through as much as possible to provide current content that people are interested in,” he adds. “SowBridge provides all participants with the opportunity to hear directly from experts, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions.” 

Now open for 2020-21 season 

Stalder, who is the Iowa contact for SowBridge, says registration cost remains at $200 for the first registration from an entity, and each subsequent registration from the same entity is half that amount.

“We recognize the current economic condition of the pork industry, and want to encourage participation by all producers,” he says. “By maintaining this lower registration fee set last year, we hope more people will be able to take part.” 

SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques involved in daily care of the breeding herd and piglets. Sessions are typically scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month, but occasionally may be moved a week to avoid interference with national industry events or holidays. 

Convenience of distance learning

“With the live phone presentation and slideshow available on their computer or other device, participants can take part from anywhere without needing internet access,” Stalder says. The distance learning approach allows people to take part without having to travel, take time from work or worry about weather conditions. During each session, participants can ask questions of the industry expert presenter and discuss with other participants from the comfort of their home, office or swine unit. 

Before each session, participants receive a link to download the presentation and any additional information provided by the presenter. Participants call in for the audio portion of each session to listen to the presenter, and while following the presentation, file on their own computer or device. Sessions begin at 11:30 a.m. and last no more than an hour. 

Instructions to get connected 

Each registration provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration, including audio recordings of the live session. Materials, delivery process and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses.

Regardless of location, those with questions on the program or registration should contact Sherry Hoyer at Iowa Pork Industry Center at ISU for more information. Hoyer can be reached by phone at 515-294-4496 or email

To provide a look at the content of SowBridge sessions, this example video was created using the presentation material and audio recording from a 2017 session where speaker Corinne Bromfield presented, “Identifying Scours.” 

Register by Jan. 15 

The yearlong program is offered by registration only, with a Jan. 15 deadline to ensure participants will receive materials for the first session on Feb. 5, Stalder says. The IPIC brochure offers information and a registration form. 

The 2020 session dates, topics, speakers and their industry affiliations are: 

Feb. 5. ”African Swine Fever and Secure Pork Supply,” Pam Zaabel, Iowa State University 

March 4. “What You Need to Know About Foreign Animal Diseases,” Justin Brown, Iowa State University; and Chelsea Hamilton, IDALS and ISU 

April 1. ”Feeding Strategies for Pre-farrow Females on Piglet Survivability,” Kiah Gourley and Jason Woodworth, Kansas State University 

May 6. “Impact of Drying Newborn Piglets,” Mike Ellis, University of Illinois 

May 27. “Porcine Circovirus Type 3: What We Know,” Albert Rovira, University of Minnesota 

July 1. “Capturing Value of Cull Sows,” Ken Stalder, Iowa State University 

Aug. 5. “Maintenance of Euthanasia Equipment,” Steve Moeller, Ohio State University 

Sept. 2. “Gestation/Lactation Ventilation Do’s and Don’ts,” Erin Cortus, University of Minnesota 

Oct. 7. “Proper Disinfectant Application,” Jose Ramirez, Virox Animal Health 

Nov. 4. “Induction Protocol Updates,” Rob Knox, University of Illinois 

Dec. 2. ”Upcoming Technology in Pork Production,” Andy Brudtkuhl, National Pork Board 

Jan. 6, 2021. “Electronic Sow Feeding Management Tips and Tricks,” Tom Parsons, University of Pennsylvania 

SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 universities, including Iowa State, from the nation’s major swine-producing states. For more swine management information, visit the Iowa Pork Industry Center at

Source: IPIC, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
TAGS: Education
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