WILLMAR — Registration for both PorkBridge and SowBridge distance education programs is now open.

PorkBridge is for those who own, manage or work in swine grow-finish facilities. SowBridge is for people involved in managing or caring for sows and/or their litters, and boars, including operation owners, caretakers, technicians, managers and technical service providers. Both programs begin in early February.

University of Minnesota Swine Extension Educator Sarah Schieck Boelke said the programs offer accurate and timely information on a variety of topics via teleconference.

“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,” Schieck Boelke said. “Participants in the PorkBridge and SowBridge programs can take part where it works best for them whether at home, in an office or in the swine unit. And whether or not they can participate in the live session, all sessions are recorded and audio files are available for download from each session for later use.”

To sample a program, people can view a PorkBridge and SowBridge session from 2017 at https://z.umn.edu/PB-sample and https://z.umn.edu/SB-sample respectively.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

PorkBridge includes six sessions, generally offered on the first Thursday of every other month starting in February. All sessions start at 11:15 a.m. and will last a maximum of one hour, which includes time for questions. There is a fee to participate.

Registration information for PorkBridge can be found at z.umn.edu/PorkBridgeRegistration.

PorkBridge 2021 session dates and topics are as follows:

Feb. 4: How to handle activists on farms.

April 1: Mental health for pig barn workers.

June 3: In-barn impacts on pork quality.

Aug. 5: Water management to maximize performance.

Oct. 7: Biosecurity for grow-finish production.

Dec. 2: Interventions to reduce mortality post-weaning.

The SowBridge program consists of 12 sessions, generally scheduled for the first Wednesday of the month. All sessions start at 11:15 a.m. and last no longer than one hour, which includes time for questions. There is a fee to participate.

Registration information for SowBridge can be found at z.umn.edu/SowBridgeRegistration.

SowBridge 2021 session dates and topics are as follows:

Feb. 3: Day One sow care.

March 3: Preventing COVID-19 on swine farms.

April 7: Mental health of barn workers.

May 5: Gilt development.

June 2: How to handle activists on farms.

July 7: Litter size adjustment strategies.

Aug. 4: Sow lifetime productivity findings.

Sept. 1: Pig farm safety practices.

Oct. 6: Gilt synchronization — tools and techniques.

Nov. 3: Economics of mortalities on sow farms.

Dec. 1: Interventions to reduce mortalities pre-weaning.

Jan. 5, 2022: Sow lameness.

Registrations for both programs are due Jan. 20 to ensure materials are received for the first session.

Before each session, subscribers will receive an email message with links to download materials for that session. During the scheduled time, participants call in to listen to and interact with the presenter.

PorkBridge and SowBridge are provided by a group of 15 universities with Sarah Schieck Boelke and Lee Johnston of the University of Minnesota Extension serving as program coordinators. Iowa Pork Industry Center coordinates all registration and subscriber mailings.