By Sherry Hoyer
Educational opportunities for Iowa pork producers don’t stop at the classroom door thanks to ongoing collaborative efforts between the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and Iowa State University.
“There’s so much information available that sometimes people don’t know where to turn,” says Tyler Bettin, IPPA director of producer education. “That’s why we appreciate our partnership with the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) at Iowa State. From science-based research to connections with experts around the world, they make sure we’re giving our members the best and most up-to-date knowledge we can.”
IPIC director John Mabry (MS ’74 animal breeding and genetics, PhD ’77) says the effort is a two-way street, and both appreciate what the other brings to the table.
“IPPA works with us at IPIC and ISU Extension on nearly everything we do,” he says. “We cosponsor a variety of workshops, seminars and programs throughout the year and bounce ideas off each other for new and improved opportunities. IPPA also offers assistance in communicating with and contacting our clients for these and other events.”
One such annual event is the Iowa Pork Regional Conferences. Since the first jointly sponsored series in 2001, IPPA and IPIC personnel have worked together to determine themes, identify expert speakers, choose strategic meeting locations and evaluate attendee opinions with an eye toward improving future programs. The high percentage of repeat participants is a true indication of the success of this venture.
In addition, the partners co-host producer certification and training sessions, youth programming and scholarship opportunities and risk and financial management workshops. They also work together to develop, staff and present educational seminars at the Iowa Pork Congress and provide support for youth interested in swine production through competitive events at Congress and the Iowa State Fair.
Bettin says the Iowa State connection is vital to IPPA’s mission to promote and educate for a sustainable, socially responsible, profitable and globally competitive pork industry.
“We strive to continue offering educational sessions that provide value to Iowa’s pork producers, and Iowa State is a big part of helping us do just that,” he says.
Mabry says the industry connection is invaluable to the center.
“IPPA provides financial resources that complement our center and institutional resources, making it possible for us to do more together than either of us could do separately. And of course, the ISU Extension swine field specialists help make it all work by combining their contacts and experience in Iowa” he says. “This partnership truly is an example of the sum being greater than its parts. Neither of us could do all that we do without the commitment and support of the other.”