The Iowa State University campus is home of the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence, a new focal point for national pork industry research and producer education.

David Meisinger became the center's director on July 1, which is specifically located at the National Swine Research and Information Center. The new center was developed as a collaboration of land-grant universities, the USDA and national pork industry groups.

The center's 15-member board of directors met for the first time in September. At that meeting, the board adopted a mission statement, that being "to add value to the pork industry by facilitating research and learning for U.S. pork producers through national collaboration."

Meisinger says developing the concept for the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence has taken several years. "The purpose is to provide a means for increased efficiencies, to reduce duplication, to redirect funds to high-priority needs and to attract new funding for more effective problem-solving and communication to target audiences," he notes.

The center will focus on three areas - research, teaching and extension. "The teaching component will involve regional swine schools that will provide intensive swine production education," says Meisinger. "The research component will be a virtual center for the nationwide swine research coordination."

One extension component will be the Pork Information Gateway, an Internet-based effort to provide pork producers with immediate access to science-based information. Another component will involve coordination and collaboration of national extension activities related to pork production and marketing.

The new center is initially supported by grants from USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Cooperative States Research Extension and Education Service, National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council, also through financial support from land-grant universities. Those universities include Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, University of Wisconsin and Texas A&M University.

Iowa State University