The sixth year of the popular distance educational series, PorkBridge, resumes June 30. The 2011-2012 speakers feature a variety of industry experts discussing pig treatment, energy conservation, immune-castrated pigs, biosecurity, alternative ingredients and tailbiting.

PorkBridge is operated through collaboration of 11 land-grant universities, reaching producers and industry professionals around the country and around the globe in an every-other-month series of six sessions.

Iowa State University Extension swine specialist Ken Stalder is the Iowa contact for PorkBridge, and says the series provides relevant and accurate information for owners, managers or workers in grow-finish facilities.

“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,” Stalder says. “PorkBridge participants can take part where it works best for them: at home, in an office or in the swine unit. And audio files from each session can be downloaded for later use.”

PorkBridge combines electronic information viewed on a computer with live presentations delivered by topic experts by phone, Stalder explains. A week prior to each session, subscribers receive a CD or Web link that contains the specific topic presentation and additional information provided by the presenter. Participants call in for the audio portion of each session and follow along with the presentation on their computer.

All sessions start at noon Central Standard Time and last approximately 90 minutes. There will be time for questions as part of each session.

The cost to participate in PorkBridge for the 2011-2012 year is $125, according to Stalder.

“The amount has not changed since the program began in 2005,” he says. “And, thanks to industry support, this year we are able to offer a $50 discount to the first 100 subscribers, making the cost just $75 for the first 100. In order to qualify for this discount, people need to contact Sherry Hoyer by e-mail at to receive an individual registration number to use on their registration form.”

The subscription form and payment must be received by June 15 to assure receipt of program materials in time for the first session on June 30. The series runs through April 2012. An informational brochure with subscription information is available on the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) Web site at Iowa residents can learn more by calling Stalder at (800) 808-7675.

Session dates, speakers and topics include:

  • June 30, 2011, Eric Farrand, Pfizer, Inc., “How to Most Effectively Identify Pigs Needing Treatment.”
  • Aug. 4, 2011: Jay Harmon, Iowa State University, “Energy Use and Conservation in Barns.”
  • Oct. 6, 2011: Steve Dritz, DVM, Kansas State University, “How Do We Manage Immune-Castrated Pigs?”
  • Dec. 1, 2011: Joel Nerem, DVM, Pipestone (MN) Veterinary Clinic, “Biosecurity for Non-Unit Personnel.”
  • Feb. 2, 2012: Robert Thaler, South Dakota State University, “Quality Control When Using Alternative Ingredients.”
  • April 5, 2012: Mark Whitney, University of Minnesota, “Tailbiting – Triggers, Prevention and Treatment.”

IPIC coordinates all program details, including registration and subscriber mailings. Mark Whitney and Lee Johnston of the University of Minnesota coordinate the Pork Bridge program.