For those interested in pursuing the prospect of niche pork marketing, you may be interested in an upcoming seminar. "Increasing Profits in Niche Pork Production" will be held on Dec. 10, in Norfolk, Neb., then again on Dec. 11, in Auburn, Neb. Both will offer interested pork producers insight and advice on this production and marketing option.

Both meetings will run from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., will take place at the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk, and the 4-H Building in Auburn.

Richard Ness, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator, will start the meeting discussing data from the production-records project and the critical actions needed to make money with niche pork. He also will discuss the basics needed to maintain useful production records on any sized farm.

Don Levis, Nebraska Extension swine specialist, will discuss management strategies to maintain a healthy sow herd and the critical aspects of getting sows bred in production systems related to niche products.

"Two of the biggest issues facing niche pork producers are consistently getting sows/gilts bred and reducing pre-weaning death losses," Ness says. "These issues have consistently been seen as negatively affecting the profitability of niche pork operations."

Keith Thornton, niche pork consultant and author of the book, "Outdoor Pig Production," will discuss designing and managing farrowing facilities that can come close to competing with farrowing crates in terms of pre-weaning death losses.

In addition, Levis will discuss goals of the National Research Institute's newly funded University of Nebraska Integrated Extension/Education project for small- and medium-sized pork production systems. Producers will be asked for their input into this project before it is launched in 2009.

Registration is requested by Dec. 5, the cost is $5. For more information or to register, contact the Norfolk office at (402) 370-4000 or the Auburn office at (402) 274-4755.

The workshop is sponsored by University of Nebraska Extension in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Niman Ranch Pork Company.