Group housing of sows is getting increased attention and will be the topic during a meeting at the University of Illinois Extension office on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield on March 19.

"This topic continues to generate much discussion in the industry," says Hans Stein, University of Illinois Extension swine specialist. "This meeting will bring together experts from around the world to share their experiences on this topic.

“Producers have an ethical obligation to make sure the animals on their farm are well cared for," said Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Nokomis and current president of IPPA. "This meeting will help producers learn more about this important topic from an excellent lineup of speakers who are experts in this field.

"Included on the program is Bjarne Pederson of Denmark, an internationally known expert on group housing of sows and how it has worked in his country. He will also be discussing other general trends in the European swine industry related to animal welfare practices."

In addition, presentations will be made by Janeen Salek-Johnson of the University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences; Tom Stuthman, Automated Production Systems of Assumption; David Meier and Mac Luna, two South Dakota pork producers who have used group housing for sows; and Sam Baidoo, University of Minnesota. 

The Illinois Pork Council, Illinois Pork Producers Association and University of Illinois Extension will sponsor the meeting.