Pork producers have a place to turn for advice and information in tough economic times thanks to a joint project of the Illinois Pork Producers Association and University of Illinois Extension. "Managing Pig Production in Tough Times" is an Web-based program that addresses several key decision areas for producers.

"U.S. pork producers now face economic hardships so serious that many will leave the business," says James Pettigrew, University of Illinois animal science professor who prepared the program. IPPA offered funding via checkoff dollars. "At the University of Illinois, we cannot change the very difficult conditions, but we can offer information to help producers manage their businesses."

At the Web site, users will find presentations by industry experts. Among the topics and presenters are: Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension, price risk; and from the University of Illinois, Rob Knox on reproduction, Larry Firkins on health and employees, Mike Ellis on management, Ted Funk on engineering, Hans Stein on nutrition and Pettigrew on feeding programs.

"Each of the seven specialists will offer three recommendations carefully chosen to be helpful to producers," Pettigrew explains.

Additionally, a special call-in program has been scheduled to deal with questions. The program will take place on Aug. 19, from 7 to 8 p.m. Individuals with questions may call (800) 347-8268; you will need the meeting's identification number  6455 and the password 0819.

To submit questions in advance of the meeting, go to the Web site and click on the address for the appropriate specialist. If you don't know who's the most appropriate specialist, you can e-mail Pettigrew at jepettig@uiuc.edu.

Pettigrew points to a tour of Australia that he took last winter as the trigger for the Web site. "Sometimes you see things at home more clearly when you get away, and this experience focused my attention on how the university could help our own producers during these tough times. I contacted IPPA and they agreed to sponsor this program," he notes.

"We realize that these have been and continue to be very rough times for pork producers dealing with escalating input costs," says Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Nokomis and IPPA president. "IPPA continues to look for ways to provide information that helps pork producers through these difficult financial times. This program has assembled a diverse group of experts who have focused in on some specific items that pork producers can do on their operations. These online seminars will allow producers to access the information when it works best for them."

Source: University of Illinois