For producers running "small" pork production systems the University of Missouri will present a "Boar Semen Collection/Processing Workshop for Small Scale Farms." Set for Aug. 8-9. at the Trowbridge Livestock Center, in Columbus, Mo., it's the first such event focusing on these herds.

"We're talking small herds," says Tim Safranski, University of Missouri swine reproduction specialist. "That means herds with one or two boars."

Safranski and Wayne Singleton, reproductive specialist at Purdue University, will teach methods that boar-stud managers at the largest swine farms practice every day. That is, the biology is the same.

"We'll scale back the $10,000-lab equipment to what is available to a backyard breeder," says Safranski.

Meeting planners hope to attract owners of rare, even endangered, breeds of swine. That includes once popular breeds, such as Hereford and Tamworth. Even rarer breeds include the Gloucester Old Spots, Mulefoot, Red Wattle and Saddleback. The latter are on the "critical" list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

After attending the workshop, breeders can share semen from their boars with USDA's National Animal Germplasm Program at Fort Collins, Colo.

At the meeting, breeders will learn to collect and preserve boar semen for use in artificial insemination. Breeders could then share their boars genetics across the country to help maintain diversity in rare breeds.

Producers are encouraged to bring a boar to the workshop to learn the collection process. Additional boars will be available for practice.

Registration fee for the workshop is $100. Pork producers who contribute two boar-semen collections to the national germplasm center get into the event for free.

For details call Safranski at (573) 884-7994 or e-mail to SafranskiT@Missouri.edu