Free training to meet Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) standards is being offered at three sites across Illinois in December by University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

"More and more packers are requiring the people they buy pigs from to have PQA certification," explains Gilbert Hollis, University of Illinois Extension swine specialist. "In order to sell pigs for slaughter after Jan. 1, 2003, producers are going to need this certification."

PQA is a three-level management education program introduced in 1989. Focus is on proper handling and use of animal health products.

The training sessions are:

  • Dec. 11: Effingham Extension Center, Effingham, 1:30-3 p.m.; contact Ed Ballard at (217) 347-5126;
  • Dec. 12: Extension Building, State Fairgrounds, Springfield, 7-8:30 p.m.; contact Hollis at (217) 333-0013; and
  • Dec. 17: DeKalb Center for Ag, Sycamore, 10 a.m.-noon; contact Dan Jennings at (815) 397-7714.