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Showing posts from July, 2020

COVID related programs for pork producers

By Megan Roberts, Extension educator, meganr@umn.edu


You’ve likely seen that both the Minnesota state legislature and the federal government passed bills in response to the COVID-19 situation. But what do these policies mean financially for hog producers? This article offers a short summary of some of the recent legislation.

Federal programs The Families FIRST Act requires all employers to offer paid sick time for eligible absences related to COVID-19. Farmers are not exempt from this requirement, but there is federal financial support to help offset the potential payroll costs of paid sick time.

University of Minnesota studies water quality effects on nursery pigs

By: Brigit Lozinski, Milena Saqui-Salces, Gerald Shurson and Pedro Urriola, University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science; Brent Frederick, Christensen Family Farms; Melissa Wilson, University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water and Climate; and Yuzhi Li and Lee Johnston, University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science and West Central Research and Outreach Center.
Originally appeared in The LAND – June 26/July 3.


Feed, water and air are the three most essential components required to achieve optimal pig performance and health. Of these three components, water has received the least amount of research attention throughout the years. Water has often been called the "forgotten nutrient" because of its relatively low cost, widespread availability and ample supply in most locations.

Some pork producers recently have observed suboptimal performance of nursery pigs which they suspected might be caused by poor water quality. Signs of poor performance include increased…

COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

As per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-74 all critical businesses, including farms (of any size) and other agricultural businesses that were designated critical businesses are required to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan by June 29th. Do you have your plan? If not, here are resources, including a template to assist you in creating a plan. Plans do not need to be submitted, but must be communicated with all working on the farm and posted in a manner that is accessible for all to review, and be made available to the Department of Labor and Industry upon request.

Other resources:
Q & A for Farm COVID-19 Preparedness PlansCOVID-19 FAQ for farms regarding cleaning and sanitizing, masks, and gloves and other FAQUMN Extension horticulture team has created a series of short COVID-19 videos to provide science-based information on transmission of the disease and how to reduce risks on farmsNational Pork Board guidance for preparing and responding to a positive case on your…

Beware of animal activist

Animal activism is on the rise in rural communities, with pig farms being the activists' current focus, mostly due to supply chain disruptions and main stream media coverage. One animal activist group that has been known to tresspass and break into livestock farms, including pig farms, is Direct Action Everywhere (DxE). Just this May it was reported DxE broke into Iowa Select Farms and taunted, harassed and videotaped their team members.

Be sure to secure entrances into your barns to deter animal activists from entering. The National Pork Board has developed Farm S.M.A.R.T Tips to promote security diligence. One of the tips is to post clear signage around your property. The MN Pork Board has “No Entrance” signs available for anyone who would like them.

The tips also encourage reporting any suspicious activity to local law enforcement. In addition, be sure to also contact your local FBI field office.

Pork continues to have a place on your plate

By Jason Ertl, Ag Productions Systems, Extension Educator. Originally printed in The LAND – May 29/June 5

The implications of the current Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in a number of unique challenges in daily life. Months ago, it would have been hard to imagine a world where common, everyday products and services, such as hand sanitizer or haircuts, would become nearly unavailable. In the situation of bars and restaurants being closed or under limited service, families have found themselves needing to cook from home more often and assume greater responsibility over their weekly meal plan. Although many dining establishments are in the process of slowly phasing back into normal business operation, there undoubtedly will be a cultural shift in dining habits as we uphold a priority for precaution and distance awareness in the near future. In doing so, social gatherings and family outings once planned for public areas might take advantage of more private alternatives in order to red…

WAGN Virtual Tour

Join us for Women in Ag Network’s (WAGN) Summer Tour, which is going virtual this year, live streamed from the WAGN’s Facebook page! The live streamed tour will feature CW Pork Farm and Tersteeg Farms. Highlights of the tour include:
Wanda Patsche, a Minnesota pig farmer and author of Minnesota Farm Living will highlight her pig farm, CW Pork and the impacts of pork processing plant closures.Breanna Bauman, a hemp farmer and Nicole Johnson, manager of Prairie PROducers will discuss the process of turning hemp into industrial fibers and their experience in niche marketing.

MN Nutrition Conference

Recently the organizers of the MN Nutrition Conference met to discuss the fate of the 2020 MN Nutrition Conference. The organizers decided to forgo an in-person 2020 MN Nutrition Conference this year. Instead, a webinar for each species is being planned for September 24. More information will be available after August 1.

The organizers look forward to an in-person conference September 22 and 23, 2021.

Allen D. Leman Conference

Make plans to join us for the 2020 Allen D. Leman Conference September 19 – 22, 2020. Due to COVID-19 the conference will be in an online format only this year.

Organizers say “same great content…science-driven solutions to the complex challenges facing the global swine industry, just in a new format…virtual!”

Registration opens July 15th so be sure to check out the conference website after that date to register and for more information. Cost is $250 through August 30 and then $300 starting August 31. Graduate student registration is $75 through August 30 and then $125 starting August 31.

Leman Conference is presented by College of  Veterinary Medicine and University of Minnesota Extension.

Recently published

Congratulations to the following swine faculty and educators from the Swine Extension Team who have had their work published recently.

Alkhamis, M. A., Li, C., & Torremorelle, M. (2020). Animal Disease Surveillance in the 21st Century: Applications and Robustness of Phylodynamic Methods in Recent US Human-Like H3 Swine Influenza Outbreaks. Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine, 7 No. 176. Doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00176.

Bai, Y., Zhao, J. B., Tao, S. Y., Zhou, X. J., Pi, Y., Gerrits, W. J. J., Johnston, L. J., Zhang, S. Y., Yang, H. J., Liu, L., & Wang, J. J. (2020). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Doi: 10.1002/jsfa.10470.

PQA Plus and TQA certification classes coming up

University of Minnesota Extension is slowly working through its sunrise plan to resume in-person programming. For now all in-person programming is approved on a case by case basis so please always check with us or MN Pork Board if a PQA+ or TQA certification session will be held. Currently the following sessions are scheduled.
July 15 – Marshall, MN – AmericInn, 1406 E Lyon St.July 22 – Mankato, MN – MN Pork Board Office, 151 Saint Andrews Ct., Ste. 810July 29 – Mankato, MN – MN Pork Board Office, 151 Saint Andrews Ct., Ste. 810 **PQA+ Only 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. ** PQA+ certification is scheduled from 9 a.m. - noon and TQA from 1 - 4 p.m. at all locations, unless noted otherwise.

Upcoming Events Calendar

July 2020
July 1: SowBridge program – “Capturing value of cull sows”
July 15: PQA+ & TQA, Marshall, MN
July 22: PQA+ & TQA, Mankato, MN
July 29: PQA+ ONLY, Mankato, MN
July 29: Women in Ag Network Virtual Tour


August 2020
Aug. 5: SowBridge program – “Maintenance of euthanasia equipment”
Aug. 6: PorkBridge program – “Tail, ear and flank biting: Reasons why and how to address”
Aug. 12: PQA+ & TQA, Waseca, MN - Pending approval
Aug. 26: PQA+ & TQA, Morris, MN - Pending approval

September 2020
Sept. 2: SowBridge program – “Gestation/lactation Ventilation Do’s & Don’ts
Sept. 19-22: Allen D. Leman Conference – Virtual

October 2020
Oct. 1: PorkBridge program – “Proper Application of Disinfectants
Oct. 7: SowBridge program – “Proper Disinfectant Application

Episode 17: Struggle Behaviors and vocalization of male piglets during castration.

Sarah Schieck Boelke, swine Extension educator is joined with Maria Lou, University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science Graduate Student in a discussion about her research on the struggle behaviors and vocalization of male piglets during castration. Listen to the podcast:z.umn.edu/PodcastEpisode17(Recorded June 25, 2020) Learn more about research featured in the podcast Watch the "Evaluating the piglet grimace scale" video to listen to Maria talk about her research project