AMES - The Iowa State University distance education program, SowBridge, will begin its fifth year on Nov. 7.
ISU animal science professor and Extension swine specialist Ken Stalder said suggestions from subscribers help maintain the program's value.
"We asked participants for suggestions on topics and speakers, and are happy to provide current content on topics that people are interested in," Stalder said. "SowBridge provides all participants with the opportunity to hear directly from experts, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions."
Stalder, who also is the Iowa contact for SowBridge, said the program is intended for people involved in managing or caring for boars, sows and/or their litters, including operation owners, employees, technicians, managers and technical service providers.
SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques involved in daily care of the breeding herd and piglets.
"People from the United States, Canada and Ireland took part in this past year's program and they told us they appreciated having the opportunity for all employees to participate in the sessions without requiring any travel or other expenses," Stalder said."With the live phone presentation and slideshow viewed on computer, participants do not need Internet access and can take part from anywhere."
Entities with more than one location have the opportunity to add locations at a lower rate. Cost is $250 for the first registration from an entity and $125 for each subsequent subscription from the same entity.
This provides access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration. Stalder said materials, delivery process and program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses and encouraged potential subscribers from outside the U.S. to contact Sherry Hoyer at Iowa Pork Industry Center at (515) 294-4496 for more information.
Before each session, U.S. subscribers receive a CD containing that session's presentation, along with information on accessing the live speaker presentation.
Most participants will call a toll-free conference line to listen to and interact with presenters.
Each session begins at 11:30 a.m. and lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Stalder said the yearlong program is offered by subscription only with an Oct. 15 deadline to ensure participants will receive materials for the first session on Nov. 7.
A brochure with information and a registration form is available on the IPIC website at www.ipic.iastate.edu/SowBridge/2012BrochureIPIC.pdf.
Iowa residents who want more information can call Stalder at (800) 808-7675.
SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 state universities - including ISU - from the major swine producing states.
IPIC was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine at ISU.
Its mission is to promote efficient pork production technologies in Iowa, maintain Iowa's pork industry leadership and strengthen rural development efforts.
IPIC focuses its efforts on programs that are integral and complementary to ISU Extension.
Through IPIC, Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to make their operations more efficient and profitable.