Registrations for two successful distance education programs for specific segments of the pork industry are now open. SowBridge, for people who work with boars, sows and their litters, begins its seventh year, and PorkBridge, for those affiliated with grow-finish facilities, begins its ninth year, both in early February.
Iowa State University animal science professor and Extension swine specialist Ken Stalder says suggestions from subscribers help maintain the value of both programs for future participants.
“Each year we ask participants in both programs for suggestions on topics and speakers, and are happy to provide current content on topics that people are interested in,” Stalder says. “These programs provide our subscribers with the opportunity to hear directly from experts on topics of current interest, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions.”
Stalder, who also is the Iowa contact for the programs, said the programs offer accurate and timely information on a variety of topics through a regular schedule. In addition, the registration fee has not increased for either program.
SowBridge participants pay $250 for the 12 monthly sessions in that program, and PorkBridge costs $125 for the six sessions held every other month for a year. For each program, entities with more than one location may pay lower fees for each subsequent registration from that same entity.
Each registration provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration. Stalder says materials, delivery process and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses, and encouraged potential subscribers from outside the United States to contact Sherry Hoyer at Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) by phone at 515-294-4496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Registrations for both programs are due Jan. 16 to ensure materials receipt for the first session of each. Before each session, subscribers will receive an email message with links to download the materials for that session. This is a change from delivery for past years.
“We’re trying to be more efficient with our resources and materials,” Stalder says. “Some survey participants told us they don’t want or need CDs, and we know that many computers no longer have CD drives. However, subscribers can still receive the CDs by marking that box on the registration form.”
Most participants will call a toll-free conference line to listen to and interact with presenters. SowBridge sessions are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. Central Time and lasts approximately 45 minutes. PorkBridge sessions generally are set for the first Thursday of every other month, beginning at noon Central Time and lasting for about 90 minutes.
The audio portion of all sessions for both programs is recorded and links to download those recordings are sent to all subscribers for that specific program after each session.
More information on SowBridge, including a link to the program brochure, is available on the IPIC website. The website also has a section for PorkBridge including that brochure. Iowa residents who want more information on either program can call IPIC at 800-808-7675.
SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 state universities from the major swine-producing states.