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Workshop for Small-Scale & Swine Production

by 5m Editor
18 April 2011, at 8:03am

VIRGINIA, US - In the past two decades, the Virginia swine industry experienced major changes, including a decrease in the number of farms, an increase in the size of existing operations, and movement toward vertical integration.

Although the vast majority of pork consumed in the US will continue to be produced by large entities such as Smithfield Foods, Inc. there is an ever expanding population of consumers that prefer their pork to be from hogs locally-raised in less-intensive systems they perceive to be more animal welfare-friendly.

Extension educators can and should support all types of swine producers, large and small, with programmes and technical information. It is anticipated, however, that the increasing number of small-scale and niche-market producers entering the swine industry will likely seek information from local, county offices.

One issue impeding small-scale and niche-market pork production is access to, and management of, suitable breeding stock. In Virginia, there no longer exist any seedstock producers. However, by using artificial insemination (AI), small-scale and niche-market pork producers can readily gain access to quality genetics. An educational need exists, however, for producers wishing to use AI.

On 15 June 2011, a workshop entitled Breeding Swine for Small-Scale and Niche-Market Pork Production will be held at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk. The purpose of the workshop is to train Extension Agents and other Agricultural Educators so that they may share with local producers newly acquired knowledge and expertise in the areas of swine AI and breeding herd management. Agents with 4-H livestock responsibilities may also be interested in this opportunity.

You can find out more information on the workshop agenda by clicking here.