3 Things You Can’t Miss at Iowa Pork Congress

( Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal's PORK )

It’s warming up in Des Moines this week for the Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 21-23 and attendees are looking forward to an awesome week in Hy-Vee Hall of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The seminars and presenters that are lined up will provide producers with practical information that can be put in place immediately, as well as outlooks and ideas that can help guide future decision-making for both pig farmers and pork stakeholders,” says Trent Thiele, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

1. Check out the new products on display.
Stroll through the trade show and discover the line-up of new products and innovations. You can find a preview on the Iowa Pork Congress website

2. Take advantage of certification training sessions.
On Wednesday, producers can choose to attend one of these certification training sessions:
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Pork Quality Assurance Plus Certification with Mark Storlie of Iowa State University Swine Extension
1-3:30 p.m.: Transport Quality Assurance Certification with Tom Miller of Iowa State University Swine Extension

3. Attend producer seminars.
Here’s a quick look at the opportunities to attend producer seminars this week.


  • 9:30 a.m. – Join attorney Eldon McAfee of Brick Gentry Law Firm for a nuisance case discussion. McAfee has represented many Iowa livestock farmers in cases claiming nuisance, an Iowa Pork Congress release said. Ask questions they may have about this concern and what they might do proactively to head off similar lawsuits.
  • 10:45 a.m. – Find out what Andy Curliss of the North Carolina Pork Council has to say about the ongoing attacks against the livestock industry. He will provide both a deep and broad look – citing specific instances – at how significant, coordinated advocacy is threatening animal agriculture. He will provide attendees with insights on how these attacks are being executed in strategy and tactics.
  • 12:45 p.m. – In late September 2019, the USDA conducted an on-the-ground functional exercise to see how the reaction system would work if African swine fever was diagnosed in the United States. There were three swine farms in Iowa that participated in the exercise. Moderator Dr. Pam Zaabel breaks down what the farms learned regarding their own preparedness to respond, and what changes they are making now to their farm operations. Panelists include Heidi Vittetoe of JWV Pork, Washington County; Dr. Pete Thomas, Iowa Select Farms; and Ian Levis, Seaboard.
  • 2 p.m. – Moderator Dr. Jay Harmon of Iowa State University will discuss the different types of ventilation systems and their benefits with people who manage those decisions or make recommendations daily. Panelists include: Ray Foerster, Smithfield Hog Production; Fernando Gomez, PIC; and Doug Owens, New Fashion Pork.
  • 3:15 p.m. – What will impact producer profitability for the coming year? Economists Steve Meyer and Joe Kerns, both of Kerns and Associates, will outline both livestock and crop issues that can make a difference in profitability. 


  • 9:15 a.m. – Learn more about African swine fever. Moderator Dr. Andrew Hennenfent, the Emergency Management Coordinator at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, will discuss the topic with Todd Thurman of SwineTex Consulting who has experience in China; Ilia Zubtsov, a PIC technical consultant with experience in Russia; and Gary Flory of the Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality who has done carcass consulting with multiple countries.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Risk management with contracts and insurance is a critical issue for producers whether they are faced with weather situations like floods or heavy snows or disease threats. Moderator Colin Johnson of Iowa State University Extension will moderate a panel discussion on the tools you might use to protect yourself, your farm and your pigs. Panelists include: Matt Berger, Gislason & Hunter LLP; Chris Pudenz – Iowa State University; and Marty Pippett of Mark Crop Insurance.
  • 11:45 a.m. – Interested in exploring alternatives to antibiotics? Join moderator Dr. Heather Fowler of the National Pork Board during a discussion with researchers and veterinarians about options to use in swine production. Panelists include Dr. Nick Gabler, Iowa State University; Dr. Peter Schneider, Applegate; and a representative of Smithfield Hog Production.
  • 1 p.m. – Managing margins in the futures and options markets may help farmers control financial risks. Find out what Tim Hughes of CIH has to say about those tools.
  • 2 p.m. – If you are looking for ways to improve the longevity of pig buildings through maintenance, this session will provide information on how to get the most value and years from your building investment. Moderator Brian Blumhagen of New Modern Concepts leads a panel that includes John Boleyn, Hog Slat; Matt Cunningham, Premier Ag Systems; and a representative from Precision Structures.
  • 3 p.m. – As interest in using cover crops continues, there is also interest in learning about the use of manure in fields where cover crops are planted. Dr. Dan Anderson of Iowa State University discusses experiences with farmer Steve Berger of Wellman and farmer Mark Schleisman of Lake City.

For more information visit iowaporkcongress.org.