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Increase in Employed Workers in Swine Barns Prompts Changes in Extension

2 February 2017, at 6:00am

CANADA - The Industry Development Specialist Swine with Manitoba Agriculture says the role of extension in swine production has changed in response to an increase in the ratio of employees to owners working in swine barns, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The theme 2017 Manitoba Swine Seminar, scheduled for February 1 and 2 in Winnipeg, is "Sharing Ideas and Information for Efficient Pork Production."

Robyn Harte, the Industry Development Specialist Swine with Manitoba Agriculture, observes extension has waxed and waned over the years but, as we've seen more workers brought in from outside the family or the farm environment, we've seen a resurgence in the demand for precision education but also a general understanding of how agriculture works.

Robyn Harte-Manitoba Agriculture:

The industry has undergone huge shifts over the last 31 years.

We've seen consolidation of players, so there's fewer people making pigs.

We've seen a large increase in the number of people who work for a farm as opposed to having people who own the farm being the only ones who work there.

We've seen a paradigm shift in how sows are housed and how animals are fed and the swine seminar has evolved to reflect that.

We do more education of workers as opposed to education of owners.

We bring in more cutting edge or bleeding edge ideas for the swine industry to be exposed to.

We try to capture important issues of the day so that the information that producers have and employees have when they go home is the most topical, the most current and the most useful for their operations.

Harte says attendance over the years has varied but, over the past few years, numbers have ranged from 300 to 350.

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