A niche swine-breeding group is being formed in Iowa as an efficient way to connect people who work in sustainable hog production and pen breed sows with peers over a large area.

Iowa State University (ISU) Extension, Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC), University of Nebraska (UNL) Extension, Iowa Pork Producers Association and Practical Farmers of Iowa are sponsors of the Niche Sow Breeding and Gestation Discussion Group.

“This series is designed to address specific questions about breeding problems that producers are experiencing on their farms,” explains Dave Stender, ISU Extension swine field specialist. “Producers will connect with others in similar situations and learn from their peers and Extension swine specialists. If you pick up just one new idea, the program will be well worth your time.”

Producers select either a Tuesday or Wednesday series where they will meet online three times from noon to 1:30 p.m. The series runs from mid-January through mid-February. Participants will need a computer with high speed Internet access and a phone line for each session. Producers may also use a computer at a nearby Extension office.

Registration deadline is Jan. 11. A form is on the IPIC Web site: www.ipic.iastate.edu/information/Niche.Sow.Discussion.Group.pdf.

“Homework assignments will be mailed to each participant along with expected completion dates,” says Stender. “There will be a list of at least nine homework options to pick from. It is important to do the homework so we can discuss the results as a group and target the issues important to your farm.”

Discussion leaders for the sessions are Stender, “Butch” Baker, DVM, from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine and UNL Extension swine specialists Don Levis and Duane Reese.

Cost for each three-session group is $20. Tuesday group dates are Jan. 13, Jan. 30 and Feb. 13. Wednesday group dates are Jan. 17, Jan. 31 and Feb. 14.

For more information, contact Stender by phone (712) 225-6196 (cell) or (712) 261-0225 (office) or by e-mail dstender@iastate.edu.