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Informative Virginia Pork Conference Set for January 20 at Wakefield, Va.

Livestock Update, December 1999

Allen Harper, Extension Animal Scientist, Swine, Tidewater AREC

Swine producers, and related pork industry people should mark January 20 as the date of the year 2000 Virginia Pork Industry Conference. The site of the conference will be the excellent meeting facilities located at the Airfield 4-H and Conference Center near Wakefield, Virginia. In keeping with the tradition of recent Virginia Pork Conferences, the planning committee has developed a strong educational program to assist all types of swine producers in meeting the issues and challenges of today's swine industry. There will be opportunities to visit with fellow pork producers and to enjoy the good food and hospitality at the meeting center. A good group of swine industry Co-sponsors will be present to describe their services for the industry and to assist in keeping the cost of the conference reasonable for all participants.

Moderator Mike Neill from Carroll's Foods of Virginia, will begin the morning session promptly at 9:30 a.m. To lead off the program, Virginia Tech swine physiologist Mark Estienne will present the topic New Developments to Enhance Boar Performance and Fertility. This topic is especially timely given the major increase in use of genetically superior boars and artificial insemination on breeding farms and at central boar studs. Dr. Estienne is a new faculty member at Virginia Tech's Tidewater Agriculture Center and is well recognized throughout the country for his work in swine reproductive physiology.

Allen Harper, Virginia Tech Extension Swine Specialist, will follow with a presentation on The Importance of Contract Swine Grower -- Integrator Relations. As contract production of pigs becomes increasingly commonplace it is imperative that positive relations among cooperators be maintained for mutual success. This presentation will provide useful information on the important components of the contract production "partnership."

The morning session will conclude with a presentation on Non-Traditional Methods of Finishing Pigs in Confinement. Mike Brumm, Swine Specialist from the University of Nebraska will deliver this talk. Dr. Brumm is nationally known for his research and education work in the area of finisher pig management. The presentation will address new concepts such as wean-to-finish management, large pen group sizes, and hoop structures for finishing pigs.

Following lunch, moderator Cindy Wood will start the afternoon session at 1:30 p.m. The important but sometimes controversial Swine Welfare Issue will be addressed using a unique approach. Following a short videotape on swine welfare, Dr. Charlotte Robinson, Veterinary Supervisor with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Rex Alphin, pork producer and chairman of the Virginia Pork Industry Board, will make commentary on the film. Conference participants will be given the opportunity to discuss this critical issue and to call on Dr. Robinson and Mr. Alphin as panelists to address questions.

Dave Meisinger of the National Pork Producer's Council in Des Moines, Iowa will complete the educational program. Mr. Meisinger will address the topic of Pork Quality Issues -- The Packer/Processor's View. Prior to joining NPPC to work on pork quality and other industry issues, Meisinger was associated with Indiana Pork Packers of New Delphi, Indiana.

At 4:00 p.m. President Don Horsley will lead the annual meeting of the Virginia Pork Industry Association. All Virginia Pork Producers and industry people are encouraged to attend. This meeting will be followed by a social hour and at 5:45 p.m. the Virginia Pork Industry Awards Banquet will be held. In addition to presentation of awards, Dr. Mike Brumm will present a keynote address entitled The New Face of U.S. Pork Production.

Conference brochures and pre-registration forms may be obtained from local Virginia Cooperative Extension offices, from the office of the Virginia Pork Industry Board (804-786-7092) or by contacting Linda Byrd-Masters at the Virginia Tech Tidewater AREC (757-657-6450, extension 126; e-mail: Pre-registration costs by January 7 for various components of the conference include $5.00 for registration, $7.00 for lunch and $10.00 for the banquet. On site registration costs on January 20 will be $10.00 registration, $10.00 lunch and $15.00 for the banquet.

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