The SowBridge Breeding Herd Education series is a new distance-learning program for pork producers offered through Iowa State University (ISU).

It’s modeled after the popular PorkBridge grow-finish series, combining electronic information viewed on computer with live oral presentations via phone by nationally known experts.

Ken Stalder, ISU animal science associate professor and Extension swine specialist, says the content of the programs will prove useful to producers.

“We’ve selected topics and speakers based on information from those associated with sow unit production, including new technology, research and management techniques related to breeding, gestation and farrowing management,” says Stalder.

SowBridge is a year long, subscription-only program. The week before each session, subscribers receive a CD containing that session’s presentation, along with information about accessing the live speaker presentation. Subscribers call a toll-free number to listen and interact with speakers. Cost for the 12 programs is $250 including access to one phone line. Each session starts at 11:30 CST and lasts for 45 minutes. Internet access is not required.

Stalder points out a single registration can be used to reach a number of people. “We encourage farm managers and owners to enroll in this program and invite several of their employees to take part over the noon break through use of a speakerphone and computer projector,” he says. “This program should also promote interaction within the group afterward, stimulating discussion on how subject matter presented during the session affects them and their operation.”

An informational brochure with subscription information is available on the Iowa Pork Industry Center Web site. Iowa residents who want more information can call Stalder at (800) 808-7675.

The SowBridge program is sponsored by the University of Nebraska, South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University and Ohio State University.