As we enter September, American school kids either have already or are getting ready to head back to school. Lingering COVID-19 concerns are making the return to school look quite different from years past, and quite different from school to school.
Some schools are moving ahead with students and teachers in the same classroom, though socially distanced, while other school districts have students staying at home receiving their lessons through the conduit of modern technology. Still other schools are implementing a version that combines classroom and distance learning — some students stay at home and log in to learn, while others hop on the bus to learn in person. Not ideal, but everyone is attempting to make the best of a bad situation.
During a normal September, I would also be gearing up to head back to "school." No, I am not pursuing a higher degree to tack on to my bachelor of science degree. This were to be the seventh Allen D. Leman Swine Conference that I would be attending.
Well, I will be attending the Leman Conference, but rather than driving to the RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul, Minn., I will be taking in the educational and insightful presentations from the comfort of my home office. Just as with some of the administrators of the country's elementary, middle, high school and colleges, Leman Conference organizers made the decision to take the conference entirely online.
This annual conference was started in 1974, and was renamed to honor Allen D. Leman after his death in 1992. Every year the conference has brought some of the top minds of the global swine industry, and even though the venue and presentation of the 2020 version are different, the presentations promise to be just as powerful as in years past.
There will be more than 70 presentations spread over the Sept. 19-22 conference, including keynote addresses and sessions covering everything from animal health issues — African swine fever, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, streptococcus suis — to production technologies to labor issues to public health issues.
What will be missing this year, will be what normally takes place between the sessions and at the evening mixers. Even though the presentations are top-notched, the discussions that occur over coffee, a meal or even a cocktail are often times what is remembered most from any conference. Don't worry, the organizers have this covered as Boehringer Ingelheim will be hosting a welcome reception and poster session, where Chef Justin Sutherland will share an exclusive pork recipe, and $10 for each participant attending the poster session will be donated by BI to Second Harvest Heartland.
Zoetis will host the Leman Science in Practice Reception to honor Clayton Johnson with Carthage Veterinary Services, the recipient of this year's Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award. Participants will be able to engage with Johnson about his path to swine medicine and production, key industry learnings and personal tips.
Merck Animal Health will sponsor a Morning Mindset — "No Guts, No Glory,", where Auburn E. Ellis will guide participants through a series of Yoga exercises to create stress-reducing mindfulness as well as physically easing common gut health issues.
Though you may not be able to discuss what you just heard in a presentation face-to-face with other experts, hopefully the information reaped will still stir deeper within you so you will be charged to discuss what you may hear with your herd veterinarian, or you may be so inclined to drop a line to the presenter directly. This year, many talks will be translated to Spanish and Portuguese.
Here at National Hog Farmer, we are proud to have a hand in bringing this year's Leman Conference to your office. The team at Farm Progress, National Hog Farmer's parent company, will be helping bring the 2020 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference to a computer screen near you.
Haven't registered for the conference yet? Never been to a Leman Conference? Click on this link to register and to find out all there is to know and what this globally known conference is all about.