National Pork Board is rolling out new opportunities to help producers learn the latest pork production and business information. It is developing more than 20 classes that producers and their employees can access at home, using their own computers, under their own timeline. These online classes provide producers with easy access to tools that they can use to better train their employees and run their operations.

"The distance-learning initiative takes a big step in delivering useful information to all pork producers," says Dennis Michael, a Yankton, S.D. producer and chair of NPB's education committee.  "This is a great example of making available knowledge and opportunities to remain competitive."

Each distance-learning class, or module, has been developed in a user-friendly format that will allow a producer to use it individually or in a group session.  Twelve modules will be available by year's end. Another nine are being developed for release in 2004. 

Some of the topics include:

  • farrowing management,
  • breeding and gestation herd management,
  • SEW nursery management,
  • grower/finisher management,
  • business planning,
  • animal well-being and care,
  • boar-stud management,
  • disease problem solving
  • pork production and management  

Pork producers and their emplyees also will be able to receive certifications within each topic area by taking an exam at the end of the module. The certification is designed to show that producers are accountable for their own continuing education. For employees, it will validate their level of expertise, which could be a good measuring stick on resumes and for new employers.

"These modules should give producers flexibility to learn at their own leisure, and have something to show for it," adds Michael.  "The producer education committee saw a need for improving educational tools, and this is something to get excited about in terms of practical application for all types of producers."

National Pork Board