This is a Congress where things actually get done! The 2015 Iowa Pork Congress promises to be a great opportunity for producers to learn about what’s new and interesting in the industry. Scheduled for January 28 and 29 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, the Iowa Pork Congress is the largest winter pig-specific trade show in the Midwest.

It’s been interesting to see the changes in technology since I first started attending the Iowa Pork Congress decades ago. It’s truly amazing to think about the advancements the industry has made in a relatively short period of time. Pork production is a business, run by leaders and managers who understand how to maximize output while still taking care of their people and animals with respect and compassion.

While highlights include connecting with other producers and of course seeing what’s new at the trade show, we feel one of the biggest benefits is gained from attending the educational seminars. The Iowa Pork Congress – and other shows like it – bring you up to speed on diseases, biosecurity, regulations and other industry issues. They help you focus on your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

On Wednesday morning, January 28, get a current update on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus from a panel of industry experts. That afternoon, keynote speaker Damian Mason will enlighten and entertain you with a “provocative yet positive look at issues impacting agriculture.”

On Thursday afternoon at 1:15 p.m., I’m pleased to moderate a session called “Showing Transparency through Social Media & Farm Tourism.” You’ll enjoy hearing from Erin Brenneman, who writes “Pictorial of a Pork Farm” for the PorkNetwork website; and Jon Hoek, who was instrumental in the development of the Fair Oaks Pig Adventure. Learn how these individuals have become trusted, influential advocates for agriculture, and how you can, too.

Other topics will cover market news, animal care audits, quality assurance training, consumer trust, pit foaming, environmental regulations and so much more.

Look for more details in the special section in our November/December issue. We look forward to seeing you at the show, and invite you to stop by the PorkNetwork booth. We will be anxious to hear what you have to say about the industry as well as PorkNetwork!