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Every day passionate people take great care in raising pigs America39s pig farmers work hard to provide safe quality pork for everyone39s table They do not take days off for holidays or winter storms because the pigs depend on them to survive The US pork industry also contributes more than meat to society including jobsnbspsupport local commerce and contribute to the economic tax basenbspSo this holiday season take time to say quotthank youquot to a farmer as you enjoy the fruits of National Hog Farmer

Destination Pork: Pathway to industry, future

Comprehensive curriculum is designed to introduce high school students to pork production and career opportunities.

Now that my children have been back in school for nearly a month (fingers crossed they get to keep going), I am finally getting used to their schedules. Working from home, I was startled a few times the first week or so when my freshman came bouncing through the door an hour prior to dismissal. I have since learned those early releases stem from the school's new block scheduling.

For those of you unfamiliar, block scheduling replaces a more traditional schedule of six or seven 40- to 50-minute daily periods with longer class periods that meet fewer times each day and week. My daughter also didn't take a study hall, so the early dismal those days provides an opportunity for her to get a jump on homework at home before volleyball practice. She also explained to me that by not taking a study hall, she will get the opportunity to take an additional advanced placement class her senior year.  

I'm proud of her. I certainly didn't have that ambition as a freshman, and I would never have passed up a study hall. Although I probably passed more notes during those study halls, than actually worked on homework.

I'm also impressed with the number of course offerings at her school. In the agriculture career and technical education program alone, the school offers 15 courses including large animal science and vet technology. It's nice to see so many options for these young minds to explore.

I hope one day we will also see Destination Pork as an option in the curriculum.

Thanks to the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence, the comprehensive curriculum is available at no cost to teachers and is designed to introduce high school students to pork production and career opportunities. Destination Pork is also formatted for Google Classroom, giving students access to the program both in-person or online.

Two pathways are available — Destination Pork: Pathway to the Industry or Destination Pork: Pathway to Your Future.  

Pathway to the Industry is an instructor-led experience designed for an introduction to agriculture course. Content and objectives are aligned with agriculture, food and natural resources standards and focuses on pork production. The program features seven lesson units (10 sessions, each 45 minutes), career highlight videos and a project-based approach. Topics include an overview of the pork industry, pig anatomy, the pork production cycle, pig caretaking and wellbeing, pig behavior, pork reproduction and environmental stewardship of the pork industry.

Pathway to Your Future is a student-led experience designed for an independent study. The online module helps students identify and initiate paths to a career in the pork industry. Content focuses on career exploration and individual competencies and features a series of independent courses (four 30-minute sessions), additional experiential activities (four 60 to 90-minute sessions) and a comprehensive career portfolio. Topics will cover the value of the pork industry, challenging misconceptions of the pork industry, the people who work in the pork industry and personal destination mapping within the pork industry.

Hats off to the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence for putting together this great resource for high schools to use — a great way to get a jumpstart enrolling and inspiring our next generation of pork industry members.

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