2014 BIVI PRRS Research Awards Announced

In conjunction with the recent Swine Health Seminar in Dallas, Texas, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) announced the winners of its Advancement in PRRS Research Awards during the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) Conference. The awards are designed to encourage ongoing discoveries in practical approaches to disease management.

boehringer-ingelheim-logo“The recent emergence of PED virus reminds us of the importance of ongoing research in helping the swine industry deal with the constant threat of disease,” said incoming AASV President Michelle Sprague, DVM, with Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic (AMVC) in Audubon, Iowa. “Longstanding research programs like the BIVI PRRS research awards do provide the practical, effective results that veterinarians can utilize to better diagnose, prevent and control PRRS. As a swine veterinarian, I see firsthand on swine farms the benefits these research programs provide.”

BIVI awarded $75,000 to support three separate studies by independent swine disease researchers and practitioners in their investigations of novel ways to diagnose, control and eliminate PRRS. The selected PRRS studies focus on three important areas of disease research:

  • The effect of maternal PRRS immunity in pigs vaccinated with PRRS MLV vaccine and subsequently challenged with a heterologous PRRSV.  Winner: Brad Leuwerke, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minnesota for his research on the Effect of maternal PRRS immunity on the response of pigs to vaccination with a homologous modified-live vaccine and subsequent response to heterologous PRRS virus challenge.
  • Helping veterinarians and producers differentiate new PRRS virus incursions from resident strains. Winner: Andres Perez, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota for his research on the Differentiating new PRRS virus incursions from resident virus strains.
  • Improving oral fluid diagnostics. Winner: Jeff Zimmerman, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa for his research on Cleaning up oral fluid samples for improved diagnostics.

Sprague noted, “It is through this initiative that we have discovered many management practices that can give producers practical applications to implement to not only impact their own operations but also those of their neighbors.”

BIVI says their sponsored research awards have been critical in the development of less costly, more reliable diagnostic testing and sampling processes, as well as identifying more effective biosecurity, risk assessment and vaccination strategies. All total, the company has contributed $912,500 through the PRRS research awards to fund 37 separate research projects.

Extra Benefits of Sow + Piglet PCV2 Vaccinations

Porcine Circovirus (PCV2) began to present considerable issues in the sow herds in the United States in 2005 and 2006 and the disease has been in the forefront of research for the last several years. Dr. Robert Desrosiers, professional service veterinarian, BI, Ltd, Canada, has BIVI Dr Robert Desrosiersbeen reviewing the research to determine if there is a benefit to vaccinating sows for PCV2. The results of this research was the focal point of a recent presentation he gave to hundreds of veterinarians around the world during Boehringer Ingelheim’s Swine Health Seminar.

He noted that right now the industry agrees that just vaccinating sows for PCV2ab does not work. He explained that the industry knows it needs to vaccinate the pigs, but what he wanted to determine is if there are extra benefits of vaccinating both the pigs and the sows.

More specifically he looked to the research to see if vaccinating sows would improve the reproductive performance of the sows and whether or not the vaccination of sows and pigs could have either a negative or positive impact on pig performance.

Dr. Derosiers found four side by side studies that looked at CircoFLEX and the reproductive performance of sows. Two of the studies did not see a positive impact – in other words it did not improve reproductive performance- but he noted that the reproductive performance of these two herds was already really high. The other two studies, he found, demonstrated an improvement in reproductive performance.

Dr. Derosiers concluded that there are situations where sow vaccination will improve reproductive performance. He also noted that overall, the research is in favor of sow and pig vaccination.

Learn more about the benefits of vaccinating both sows and pigs by listening to my interview with Dr. Robert Desrosiers. Research Shows Extra Benefits of Sow + Piglet PCV2 Vaccinations

Check out the BIVI guest adventures in the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

What is the Infection Chain of PCV2?

There is a lot of ongoing research around Porcine Circovirus (PCV2), a disease that has affected swine herds for nearly 40 years. During the recent Swine Health Seminar in Dallas, Texas hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim, Dr. David Baumert, staff veterinarian, Cargill Pork discussed some of his research around the virus. In particular, he looked at the infection chain of PCV2.

BIVI Dr David Baumert Cargill PorkThere are two ways pigs can be infected by PCV2. One is by co-mingling with other pigs that are infected and the second way is by being farrowed or born from a sow that has a high level of circovirus.

“Particularly in the case where the sow infects the pig, that’s where we’re staring to think of the concept as an infection chain where its moving from animal to animal or from one area of production to another area of production as if we’re following links of a chain down a pathway,” explained Baumert.

He noted that the more we think about the concept of a chain of infection, the farther back we look to find the area where we can make the biggest improvement or have the greatest opportunity of success for disease control.

Learn more about the PCV2 infection chain including horizontal and vertical transmission by listening my interview with Dr. David Baumert. What is the Infection Chain of PCV2?

Check out the BIVI guest adventures in the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

PCV2 Vaccination Strategies

BIVI Dr Michael MurtaughDid you know that most piglets are born with PCV2? I didn’t until I spoke with Dr. Michael Murtaugh, professor at the University of Minnesota who has been researching PCV2 over the past six years. Dr. Murtaugh gave an update on his presentation to several hundred attendees of Boehringer Ingelheim’s annual Swine Health Seminar.

He noted that piglets are vaccinated shortly after birth to provide lifelong protection against disease. He said the PCV2 vaccines are very interesting because they are very effective at preventing disease even in the presence of the virus that is still there.

I asked Dr. Murtaugh if the vaccines were effective if not given until later. He said that the vaccines are effective in preventing disease at any age as long as there is time for the vaccine to take effect, which generally is about two weeks.

Another interesting element of Dr. Murtaugh’s presentation was around co-infection. “Any time you can prevent one disease in pigs, you give the pig a better chance to fight other infections,” said Dr. Murtaugh. “So the protection you get against PCV2ab, also benefits pig health in general.”

Learn more about PCV2 vaccination strategies by listening my interview with Dr. Michael Murtaugh. PCV2 Vaccination Strategies

Check out the BIVI guest adventures in the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

PCV2 – A Retrospective

In one way, you can consider this year the 40th anniversary of PCV (Porcine Circovirus or PCV2) said Dr. Brian Payne, FLEX technical manger for Boehringer Ingelheim during the recent Swine Health Seminar. He explained that in 1974 it was first isolated but the industry didn’t know what it meant. During the next 25 years or so, more studies were done and then Porcine Cirocvirus was split into PCV1 and PCV2 based on genetic sequencing and what they were finding in the field.

bivi-vet14-payneAs Dr. Payne explained, even PCV2 is “mutating”. He said that any virus is going to mutate, or change, over time. As a result, PCV2 has been categorized into PCV2a and PCV2b. He noted that if a producer has circavirus in his swine herd, he or she will know it but most don’t sequence the virus any further because they both affect the herd in basically the same way.

I asked Dr. Payne if PCV2a and PCV2b should be treated in the same way. He said this was a good question and when you are asking if a farm with PCV2a should be treated the same way as a farm with PCV2b, you’re really talking about prevention with a vaccine.

“All the vaccines today including CircoFLEX are PCV2a vaccines but they protect equally as well for PCV2b,” said Dr. Payne, who recommends CircoFLEX at three weeks of age. He said it’s here, and here to stay. He also noted that a guild going into a sow herd needs to be vaccinated one more time. Evidence is showing that when these two prevention strategies are combined, there is more benefit than the piglet vaccination alone.

Listen my interview with Dr. Payne here to learn more about PCV2 and effective prevention strategies. Interview with Dr. Brian Payne on PCV2

Check out the BIVI guest adventures in the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

BIVI Launches Two PED Initiatives

In an effort to help swine veterinarians and producers find effective measures for managing porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED), Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) launched two PED-focused initiatives during their Swine Health Seminar in Dallas, Texas on February 28, 2014 which coincided with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Meeting.

BIVI Greg ClineThe first initiative, according to Greg Cline, DVM, technical manager of swine enteric disease at BIVI, is a PED applied research commitment of up to $50,000 in research funds supporting the development of knowledge and tools targeting the practical management of PED.

“We will be focused on helping the industry to find answers to some of the most critical questions regarding PED,” noted Cline in an interview. “From our long research history with PRRS, Lawsonia intracellularis, PCV2 and other diseases, we continue our commitment to finding solutions through applicable research targeted toward the tough problems that plague the swine industry.”

The second initiative is the “PED News” service that BIVI is sponsoring in partnership with the University of Californi, Davis’ Center of Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS) department. Cline said the program is similar to CADMS’ “FMD News” service where subscribers can receive news clips daily or weekly from around the world that highlights all the news and research related to PED.

“We saw a need for this type of information-sharing service to help the North American swine industry stay as current as possible with the all the PED-related information,” said Cline who noted that the disease was first identified in the U.S. in April of 2013 and to date, there is no vaccine or antibiotic available to fight the disease. He said that these two initiatives were designed to help discover, coordinate and share information related to PED that may be useful in helping vets and producers better prevent, manage and control this disease.

“Because this highly contagious disease is relatively new to the U.S. and its impact on producers can be so devastating, it’s critical that everyone work together to find effective solutions and share information,” Cline said. “These two initiatives should help us to better understand this highly contagious disease and how to more effectively manage PED.”

Click here to sign up for the PED News.

Listen my my interview with Greg Cline here: BIVI Launches Two PED Initiatives

Check out the BIVI guest adventures in the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

BIVI Dances the Night Away with Time Machine

Attendees of the Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI) Swine Health Seminar danced the night away at the new Dallas Cowboys football stadium last night. Treated to great food, fun games, cheerleaders, a football player and great music, the crowd “Scored with BIVI in the Big D.”

BIVI’s guests were able to take photos with former Dallas Cowboy player Chad Hennings, who happens to be a Midwestern boy from Iowa. They also had fun testing their skills on an obstacle course, as well as were able to rate their throwing ability with several beanbag and football-themed games.

In addition, the crowd had fun dancing to the stylings of Time Machine. A special call-out to Jorge and Norton whose moves are featured in this video.

Check out the BIVI guest adventures in the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

Attendees Scoring Big With BIVI in Dallas

Dr. John Waddell kicks off the BIVI Swine Health Seminar in Dallas, Texas on February 28, 2014.

Dr. John Waddell kicks off the BIVI Swine Health Seminar in Dallas, Texas on February 28, 2014. Attendees are scoring big in Dallas today during the Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI) Swine Health Seminar in the Big D.

Attendees are Scoring Big with BIVI in the Big D today at the Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI) Swine Health Seminar taking place in Dallas, Texas. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the moniker, the Big D is Dallas Texas – the home of the Dallas Cowboys football team (this will become relevant later in my post).

The theme of today’s seminar is Running the Option: A Multifaceted Approach to PCV2 (or Porcine Circovirus). The virus was first discovered (or genetically identified) in 1974, and in essence, as Dr. Brian Payne said during his kick-off presentation – this year marks the 40th anniversary of PCV. Today, the virus has mutated into PCV2 a and b.

The seminar is covering all aspects of this virus from a diverse group of experts ranging from veterinarians from BIVI and Cargill Pork, researchers and international consultants. The in-depth presentations discussed diagnostics, control, protection and efficiency measures to prevalence and immunity, infield research, sow stability and vaccination. The event concluded with a roundtable discussion. Over the next few days, AgWired will be bringing you coverage from the event.

Now back to the BIVI kick offDallas Cowboys. The group was treated to dinner and entertainment at the At&T Cowboys Stadium where people will be meeting former Dallas Cowboy football players and current Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. This readers, was a educational and fun day in Dallas.

Check out the BIVI Big D Swine Health Seminar photo album.

What’s Next for ARC?

BI-PRRS-13-116-editedBoehringer Ingelheim’s, Dr. Dale Polson, wrapped up their PRRS Seminar with answering the question of, “What’s Next for ARC?”

Dr. Polson works to development strategies for services and products at Boehringer Ingelheim. His talk at the seminar was themed on the “Playing the PRRS Behavior Game.” He shared that PRRS honors no boundaries and that it’s also about many other diseases that challenges the pork industry. The old methods of simply taking care of our own, needs to be thrown out the window. We need to adopt the ‘better together’ model that he suggests.

This method has lead Dr. Polson to suggest renaming the ARC program to Area Coordinated Disease Control. He says collaboration is the key.

“The one word that is in the set of four words is the most important and that’s the word coordinated. It’s the idea that it’s too general, in my opinion, to call it Area Regional Control. We need something that specifically describes one of the key tenants of the approach and that’s the reason for the word coordination.”

Later in my interview with Dr. Polson he talks about the goals of control, elimination and then prevention of PRRS and where the industry needs to head for the future.

Listen to my complete interview with Dale here: Interview with Dr. Dale Polson, Boehringer Ingelheim

Here are photos from the event:2013 BIVI PRSS ARC&E Seminar Photo Album

Utilizing Vaccinations for PRRS Virus

BI-PRRS-13-109-editedBoehringer Ingelheim provided the opportunity for the big questions to be asked about the PRRS virus during their recent PRRS Seminar in Chicago. Swine Vet Center’s, Dr. Tim Loula, shared his insight into effective PRRS protocols and how to better utilize ARC programs.

Dr. Loula said that the current vaccination for PRRS could be better, but right now it’s all producers have. His suggestion to this dilemma is a simple mandatory vaccination program nationwide. He also shared that starting local is key and thats the producers and veterinarians. Then it can extend to institutions and the allied industry.

“I made a point in my presentation that we need to be bigger, bolder and have some kind of enforcement mechanism. Maybe the producers themselves vote that they are going to do this on a national level if we are going to see any kind of minimization of the effects of PRRS.”

Listen to my complete interview with Tim here: Interview with Dr. Tim Loula, Swine Vet Center

Here are photos from the event:2013 BIVI PRSS ARC&E Seminar Photo Album

PRRS Research At It’s Finest

BI-PRRS-13-47-editedThe PRRS virus is nothing new to swine producers across the country and has been around for years. But that doesn’t mean research has ceased. During Boehringer Ingelheim’s PRRS Seminar in Chicago, Dr. Scott Dee, director of research at Pipestone Vet Clinic, shared with his peers the research he has conducted regarding the PRRS virus found in the air surrounding farms.

“We are a strong believer of air-filtration to prevent airborne virus introduction to farms. It’s an expensive proposition. One of our goals was can we prove that there is indeed virus in the air outside our farms. And if we can, how often is it there, what quantity is present and how many different varieties of viruses are circulating around our farms.”

Pipestone conducted a study last fall and found that the frequency of the air-born virus was very high. The quantity of viable virus in the air was also high, as well as the diversity of virus types around the farm was high. With this finding, Dr. Dee talked about two options that farmers can take to help combat PRRS in their barns. The first is air-filtration, which he further discusses in my interview with him, and vaccination at weaned-to-finish operations.

Listen to my interview with Scott here: Interview with Dr. Scott Dee, Pipestone Vet Clinic

Here are photos from the event:2013 BIVI PRSS ARC&E Seminar Photo Album

Application of PRRS Control Protocols

BI-PRRS-13-64-editedThe recent Boehringer Ingelheim PRRS Seminar in Chicago, IL, brought swine animal health experts from around the world together to discuss research studies and compare and contrast notes on the PRRS virus.

I spoke with Dr. Clayton Johnson after his presentation on the application of PRRS control protocols. Dr. Johnson is the Director of Health at The Maschhoffs.

“We were fortunate to get exposed to a lot of the good work that was coming out of the University of Minnesota last year in the time to negative pig study. That work allowed us to make make some estimates about what prior immunity was worth on our sow farms. Sow farms that had been exposed to PRRS and particularly sow farms in high pig density areas where they typically get exposed to PRRS on a regular basis. What is that prior immunity worth knowing they are likely to be exposed despite our best bio security methods. What we found through Daniels (Dr. Daniel Linhares, PIC/Agroceres) work was that the prior immunity could be quantified in the terms of weaned pig output out of that sow farm in the face of the next PRRS break. That weaned pig output was distractingly higher on farms with prior immunity compared to farms that were naive to prior immunity.”

Dr. Johnson also hit on the load, close and expose strategy they take in PRRS management, compared current performance vs. historical performance and their research into bringing the immunity to gilt development farms.

Listen to my interview with Clayton here: Interview with Dr. Clayton Johnson, The Maschhoffs

Here are photos from the event:2013 BIVI PRSS ARC&E Seminar Photo Album

Update on PRRS Diagnostic Testing

BI-PRRS-13-37-editedAs part of the 2013 North American PRRS Symposium, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health hosted the BIVI PRRS ARC&E Seminar. It was a morning full of experts discussing PRRS Area Regional Control, as well as what is being done in the field.

The morning started off with Dr. Rodger Main, Director of the Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory at Iowa State University. He provided the audience with an update on current PRRS diagnostic testing.

“The field of PRRS diagnostics has continued to evolve and continue to mature. The point I wanted to get across is the continuous improvement in the assays themselves, the processes that happen at the laboratory and the cooperative nature of our clients that has really improved the overall state of PRRS diagnostics in North America.”

Dr. Main also discussed the use of oral fluids as diagnostic specimens, the use of premise ID and affiliate codes and other improvements the lab has taken to tackle the PRRS virus.

“In the field of PRRS diagnostics there has been substantial improvements over the past five years. All the primary assays that we are using today in the laboratory are all new and different, as well as a number of the key methods and processes that are occurring in the laboratory itself. PRRS has been around for a long time and I think that we would like folks to know that it continues to evolve and improve and it all begins with the client. One of the big things going forward will be around how we enhance our information management systems on both the front and back ends of the diagnostic process.”

Listen to my interview with Rodger here: Interview with Dr. Rodger Main, Iowa State University

Here are photos from the event:2013 BIVI PRSS ARC&E Seminar Photo Album

BIVI Introduces FLEXcombo HSB Swine Vaccine

boehringer-ingelheim-logoBoehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), has made it easier to vaccinate swine against porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, two of the most economically important swine diseases, in a single injection with FLEXcombo.

Because every swine herd is unique, FLEXcombo, one of the products in the FLEX Family of vaccines, allows producers and veterinarians to customize vaccination programs based on their specific disease problems and management protocols. Each FLEXcombo package contains a 250-mL bottle of Ingelvac CircoFLEX® and 250 mL of Ingelvac MycoFLEX® vaccine in a 500-mL headspace bottle for mixing. This provides a total of 500 mL of the mixed vaccine, enough to vaccinate 250 head with a single 2-mL injection.

According to Sarah Jorgensen, FLEX brand manager for the BIVI Swine Division, the new FLEXcombo package makes it practical for veterinarians and producers to mix and administer the vaccine to pigs three weeks of age and older to protect against PCV2 and mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in a single injection.

The single 2-mL injection of FLEXcombo gives producers the ability to reduce stress on both pigs and people while decreasing labor costs. Additionally, a reduced number of injections offers greater Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) benefits.

Pork Production and Profitability

bivi-nc13-dennisEconomist Dennis DiPietre shared his insights on the cost of production and profitability in the U.S. pork industry during the Boehringer Ingelheim North Carolina Health Seminar last week. Dennis is a frequent guest speaker at this event because he always entertaining and enlightening.

His main point this time was “all the world is a distribution” which he used to illustrate the need to look at averages rather than single point prices when making economic decisions. “Today’s price isn’t any good after today, it’s bound to change,” Dennis said. “As you’re thinking about the future, you have to ask yourself…do I expect the pattern of the last year to repeat itself, the last five years, or will we be going back to a longer term sort of pattern?”

Dennis does believe that the hog industry is coming into a period of pretty good profits in the next year. “But people … should really begin to think in the long run about seeing prices of corn, bean meal and hogs as distributions, not as annual averages,” he said. “The most important thing you can do to try to ensure profitability is to try to manage margins by using a good hedging program.”

Listen to my interview with Dennis here: Interview with economist Dennis DiPietre

BIVI NC Swine Seminar Photo Album

Risk Factors for Salmonella in Swine Production

bivi-nc13-marcosFood safety is one of the major factors driving consumer food demand which makes salmonella a food safety priority for the pork industry.

Dr. Marcos Rostagno with USDA-ARS at Purdue University told producers at the Boehringer Ingelheim North Carolina Health Seminar that awareness of the on-farm risk factors for salmonella contamination is the first line of defense. “Particularly paying attention to the feed as not only as a potential source but as an exposing factor, control of pests – rodents, birds, things like that,” he said. “Also of critical importance is sanitation to minimize persistence of these pathogens.”

Rostagno also discussed a recent study on the impact of feeding the ethanol co-product distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGs) on salmonella and risk factors at other stages from pig to pork.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Rostagno here: Interview with Dr. Marcos Rostagno, USDA-ARS

BIVI NC Swine Seminar Photo Album

Minimize Exposure and Maximize Immunity

bivi-nc13-fanoA systematic whole herd approach to controlling all types of swine respiratory diseases hinges on the two-pronged effort of minimizing exposure and maximizing immunity.

Dr. Eduardo Fano, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica‘s technical manager for the Americas, explained the approach during the North Carolina Health Seminar for producers on Friday. “You can do it through the whole production/infection chain,” said Dr. Fano. “What you do in the gilts is going to be good for the piglets, for example.”

Dr. Fano says the concept of the production/infection chain is not new. “We are putting together old knowledge with new knowledge,” he said. “We are proposing this as an automatic way to think when we are managing disease.”

Listen to my interview with Dr. Fano here: Interview with Dr. Eduardo Fano, BIVI

BIVI NC Swine Seminar Photo Album

PEDv Update for Swine Producers

bivi-nc13-madsenPorcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus became a brand new problem for the U.S. swine industry to deal with this past spring, and Dr. Darin Madson with Iowa State University gave an update on the situation to producers at the Boehringer-Ingelheim North Carolina Health Seminar on Friday.

“Basically what we determined is that this virus, previously not known to be here, somehow entered North America around April 15,” said Dr. Madson. “It’s now over 400 premises that are positive across multiple states.”

Dr. Madson notes that the disease was found in Europe in the 1970s but appeared to die out, while it came into Asia in the 1990s where it has been devastating. The question is what the outcome of this outbreak in the United States will be. “There’s two different scenarios of what can happen on a sow farm,” he said. “One is that once the virus hits, it runs it’s course and it’s done and is eliminated. The other course is that it become endemic, meaning the virus is always there, but you really don’t see the signs until after they wean. That’s the scary one.”

Dr. Madson says there are positives and negatives about the virus when it comes to control but his main message to producers to prevent PED on their operations boils down to one word – biosecurity. “You really don’t want it and you really need to be careful to understand that this virus is very infective,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Madson here: Interview with ISU swine pathologist Dr. Darin Madson

BIVI NC Swine Seminar Photo Album

New Guy With BIVI

bivi-nc13-delMeet Del Birkhofer, the brand new executive director of the swine business for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc (BIVI).

Del has 26 years of experience in the animal health industry, working with Merck and Merial, and he is happy to make this move to BIVI at this point in his career. “I was looking at my future and BI is one of those companies I always looked upon as an excellent place to be,” he said.

He says BIVI is a leader in the swine health industry by being innovative and solutions-minded. “It goes beyond selling products, we need to be working hand in hand with our customers on a daily basis,” said Del. And that is one of the main purposes of the BIVI North Carolina Health Seminar, where we are this week. It’s the 13th annual event for the company, bringing hog producers and their families in this important region for a couple of days on Wrightsville Beach to share information and fellowship.

Listen to my interview with Del here: Interview with Del Birkhofer, BIVI

BIVI NC Swine Seminar Photo Album

Swine Link Wrap-Up

Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI) held a networking event for women in the swine industry last weekend and overall the event was a great success. To learn more about Swine Link, I spent some time with Lara Sheeley, senior associate director of BIVI who moved from BIVI Australia to lead the swine brand team in the U.S.

Lara Sheeley BIVISheeley said that Swine Link evolved from another group geared toward women in the swine industry called Sweet on Swine. Over the years, Boehringer Ingelheim has sponsored networking events to really get women in the swine industry to be able to network and meet each other and learn from each other. This event took a different form and focused on women in leadership in the agriculture and the swine industry. She noted that there are not a lot of opportunities for women in leadership to network both in the ag industry and the swine industry and so they focused this event on meeting this need.

When Sheeley took the job, she thought it would be a challenge because she moved from the companion animal side of the business to the production animal side of the business. But she soon discovered that another challenge was moving into an industry with few women in leadership roles, including at BIVI. She said she could really relate to what many of the speakers said, especially Jane Fallon with Cargill Pork, having moved from one side of the business to the swine side of the business.

Swine Link is an ongoing networking group and Sheeley says BIVI plans to host more events over the next few months. Examples include breakfast networking meetings or receptions during industry events. So keep your eyes out for Swine Link news.

Listen to my interview with Lara Sheeley here: Swine Link Wrap-up

Check out the photos from the event in the Swine Link photo album.