COVID-19 drives changes for Iowa Pork Congress

The 2021 Iowa Pork Congress may not be an in-person event this year, but there are still virtual options for online sessions that will bring useful information to Iowa’s pig farmers.

"Our producer education committee focused on a few key topics that it felt would help out Iowa farmers, said Jamee Eggers, producer education director for the Iowa Pork

Producers Association. "Each education session is just one-hour long, including the opportunity for those who participate to ask questions of the presenters."

Registration for the education sessions is required in order to receive the link to join the session.

At noon Jan. 27, the keynote for the meeting will be presented by Damian Mason, who will talk about the current events impacting agriculture that start with the letter f: foodies, fair trade, feelings, finance, and the future. Mason is known for motivating and inspiring audiences in both good and bad ag climates. Register to get the link for his session at

The second presentation that day is at 7 p.m. The panel discussion will cover the lessons learned from the market disruptions last spring. Those lessons can be applied to future market disruptions, even those caused by a foreign animal disease outbreak. Iowa State University Extension swine specialist Colin Johnson will lead a panel discussion with Lucia Hunt, Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Sara Crawford, National Pork Board; and Nick Gabler, a swine nutrition professor at ISU. The link to register for this session is

The first education session on Jan. 28 is at 7 a.m. The presentation by Hannah Thompson-Weeman of the Animal Ag Alliance will discuss the individuals and organizations behind animal activists. Thompson-Weeman will talk about what farmers can do to improve their own farm security, but also how to counter activists’ tactics. Register for this session at

Recent pig and pork marketing tools is the topic for the second session on Thursday. It begins at noon, and will be a panel led by ISU livestock economist Lee Schulz. Schulz will be joined by Bill Kaelin of K&M Trading, LLC; Tim Hughes of CIH; and Pat Von Tersch, a marketing specialist. The group will talk about the new pork cutout contract, other marketing resources, and updates for Livestock Risk Protection Insurance and Livestock Gross Margin insurance. Register for this marketing session at

More information about the online Iowa Pork Foundation Auction and livestreaming the awards banquet can be found at

The Iowa Pork Congress has been North America’s most successful winter swine trade show and conference. The IPPA Board of Directors decided to cancel the trade show and go virtual with the education sessions in order to protect the health of the 4,000 to 5,000 people who typically attend the event.