The 8th annual Iowa Swine Day took place at Iowa State University on June 27 with a record 570 people attending. The event attracted many pork producers, and representatives from feed, genetics, equipment, and animal health companies, veterinarians, and many university faculty and students. Together, representatives from swine production companies collectively managed approximately 3 million sows, roughly 50% of the U.S. sow herd.
“We were excited by how many people attended this year’s event,” said Iowa Swine Day coordinator Kristin Olsen. “It was a successful day, and I think there was something to learn for everyone who was there.”
African swine fever, which is top of mind for pork producers, was the focus of one afternoon session. Speakers discussed the risks to the U.S. industry, first-hand experiences with the disease from China and Russia, and how the U.S. industry can protect itself from ASF. Dr. Pam Zaabel shared how pork producers can prepare their farms via the Secure Pork Supply plan (See www.ipic.iastate.edu/secureporksupply.html for information about the Iowa Pork Industry Center’s foreign animal disease preparation and Secure Pork Supply workshops).
Another highlight of the day was Dr. Frank Mitloehner from University of California Davis, who shared data demonstrating how livestock contributes very little to greenhouse gas emissions overall; considering how livestock production efficiencies have improved over time, the carbon footprint of producing a pound of meat has decreased substantially. He also challenged everyone in the audience to be active on social media to advocate for animal agriculture and its important role in feeding the world.
A new afternoon session geared towards growers proved to be a great opportunity for attendees to gain hands-on information to apply on their farms. Topics included utilizing manure as a nutrient source, improving soil health and water quality, composting mortalities, ventilation tips and extending the life of a hog barn.
“As Iowa Swine Day continues to grow, we will keep looking for ways to bring relevant information to pork producers and other members of the industry who attend this event, ” Olsen said.
To see presentations and videos from this year’s Iowa Swine Day, visit www.ipic.iastate.edu/iowaswineday.html.