Winter is a time for state pork associations to host expos and Congresses that offer educational seminars and trade shows displaying the latest technology for the swine industry. National Hog Farmer

It’s show time and know time!

Pork associations' winter meetings offer great lineups for producers to learn more about their industry and to checkout the latest technologies to keep their farms on the cutting edge.

Winter, at least in the Upper Midwest, is the perfect time to stay inside.

Hog producers’ modern facilities are a safe haven for barn staff and the livestock under their care to escape what Mother Nature can dish out in freezing temps and blowing snow. Once in a while hog producers need to leave the farm, and there are plenty of opportunities coming up to keep them warm while helping them keep up on the latest the industry is offering.

Across hog country, state pork producer associations are holding their annual meetings, many of which are tied in with trade shows displaying the latest and greatest products in the pork world. Many of these events also offer full agendas of educational seminars and workshops that will benefit attending producers.

Whether you’re heading to Sioux Falls next week for the South Dakota Pork Congress, or to Des Moines for Iowa Pork Congress in a couple of weeks, or to Springfield for the Illinois Pork Expo at the end of the month, you may just run into staff from National Hog Farmer. But, better yet, you will have the opportunity to learn so much about the 2017 swine industry.

With new regulations surrounding the use of antibiotics, the seminar “Can Probiotics Replace Antibiotics on Your Farm” at the South Dakota show may be right up your alley. Though the information can be frustrating to hear, it is a necessary evil in today’s livestock production, and Eldon McAfee will once again offer his annual update on Iowa regulations and nuisance law suits during Iowa Pork Congress.

Mike Brumm, Brumm Consultancy Inc., is scheduled to present the important topics of “Ventilation Systems of Swine Barns & New Technologies” at the Illinois Pork Expo. Maybe you wish to spend Valentine’s Day sharing your love for the swine industry by attending the Nebraska Pork Producers Association Annual Meeting in Lincoln. While there, you might as well sit in on the panel discussion on “Employee Hiring Dos and Don’ts.”

Regardless what you wish to learn, chances are it will be covered. The only problem is that some seminars are concurrent, so it’s impossible to take it all in. For that reason, it’s good to bring some of your barn staff along for the day. The more they learn, the better prepared they will be to take your operation to the next level of success.

In addition to helping better your operation, allowing barn staff to attend these meetings is a chance for them to be exposed to this wonderful swine industry beyond the barn walls. Most of these pork congresses and expos also offer a social aspect, allowing producers and their barn staff to network with others. These gatherings are great times to renew old friendships, create new ones and to learn from one another. If you’ve had a production or health issue on your farm, chances are your fellow hog producers have encountered the same. They may also have an answer to solve your dilemma or offer a different approach that you may not have previously considered.

There is no down time on a hog farm, and there should be no down time for bettering yourself. Check with your state pork producer association for the dates and location of these events close to you to continue the knowledge flow. See you at the show.

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