A first-time conference on educating new or aspiring hog farmers about the pork industry will be held this spring in Ames, IA.

“Exploring Opportunities: A Conference for Aspiring Pork Producers” is scheduled for April 1 at the Quality Inn and Suites in Ames, IA. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the conference runs until 3:30 p.m.

Sponsors include the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa State University’s Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC), Beginning Farmer Center and Farm Credit Services of America.

“We’re excited to present this conference and give farmers who are considering raising hogs insight into the industry, what they need to know and how they can get started,” says Colin Johnson, Extension program specialist at the IPIC.

Iowa State University Extension Livestock Economist John Lawrence will provide an overview of the pork industry and talk about opportunities and sustainability.

Gary Thome from Riverland Community College in Austin, MN, will discuss contract finishing.

Dave Stender, area Extension specialist for ISU, and Gary Huber of Practical Farmers of Iowa will discuss raising hogs for niche markets in morning breakout sessions.

Afternoon breakout sessions will include a discussion by a panel of experts on how to obtain capital.

Regulations and neighbor relations will be the subject of another session.

A group of veteran hog farmers will share thoughts on how young farmers can map their future and transition ownership.

“This conference will be ideal for those considering constructing a finishing building but don’t know the process and available financing options,” notes Johnson. “Veteran farmers looking for the next generation of managers and owners also will benefit from the seminar, as will employees and college students who want to know how to become owners.”

The conference is free to those who register by March 28 by calling IPIC at (800) 808-7675. There is a $20 charge the day of the conference.