Seminars and training offered at 2020 Iowa Pork Congress

Midwest pig farmers who attend the 2020 Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 22 to 23 will find a variety of educational seminar and training opportunities, along with more than 300 trade show exhibitors. All the events will take place at Hy-Vee Hall in the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.

"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 the president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Trent Thiele of Elma.
There will be five seminars on Jan. 22:
  • 9:30 a.m. – Nuisance case discussion with attorney Eldon McAfee of Brick Gentry Law Firm. McAfee has represented many Iowa livestock farmers in cases claiming nuisance. Moderator Drew Mogler will encourage those in the audience to ask questions they may have about this concern and what they might do proactively to head off similar lawsuits.
  • 10:45 a.m. – Andy Curliss of the North Carolina Pork Council will provide both a deep and broad look—citing specific instances—at how significant, coordinated advocacy is threatening animal agriculture. He will offer an unprecedented look at the ongoing attacks against the livestock industry and 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 will talk with them about what they 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. – There are many different ventilation systems being used in today’s swine barns. Moderator Dr. Jay Harmon of Iowa State University will discuss the types 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, Senior Service Manager at New Fashion Pork.
  • 3:15 p.m. – The economic outlook session is always a popular one as pig farmers hear about the details of factors that may 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.
Also on Wednesday, producers can choose to attend one of these certification training sessions:
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Pork Quality Assurance Plus Certification
  • sport Quality Assurance Certification
There are also five seminars scheduled for Jan. 23:
  • 9:15 a.m. – Producers can learn more about what the foreign experience with African swine fever has been. 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. – For producers who want to explore alternatives to antibiotics, moderator Dr. Heather Fowler of the National Pork Board leads 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. Tim Hughes of CIH will talk 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, Iowa State University, discusses with two farmers their experiences. Those farmers are Steve Berger, Wellman, and Mark Schleisman, Lake City.
There will be one certification training session on Thursday:
  • 10 a.m. to noon – Confinement Site Manure Applicator Certification. Applicators should bring their manure applicator certification card to this session.
Pre-registration to attend the Iowa Pork Congress seminars and trade show is available through Jan. 9 at, or by using the form in the November issue of the Iowa Pork Producer magazine, or by calling 800-372-7675.
  • IPPA members who pre-register can attend Iowa Pork Congress free.
  • Non-IPPA members can save $5 off the normal $10 admission cost by pre-registering by the Jan. 9 deadline.
Registrations will be accepted after the deadline, including through each day of the show. The cost will be $10.
For more information about events and registration, contact IPPA at 800-372-7675 or visit