Hot Dogs Remain Top Dog For MLB Fans

79543It’s a love affair that has spanned generations and baseball fans will once again make hot dogs their number one choice at the ballparks this summer. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that fans will eat a whopping 21,357,316 hot dogs and 5,508,887 sausages during the 2014 Major League season, enough hot dogs to stretch from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“When it comes to the food of choice at baseball games nothing cuts the mustard quite like hot dogs and sausages,” said Eric Mittenthal, NHDSC vice president of public affairs. “It’s a tradition that fans relish, and despite growing options at concessions, they keep coming back for their old favorite.”

This year’s total includes a new single season record for most hot dogs at one stadium as the Los Angeles Dodgers anticipate fans will consume 3,077,537 hot dogs, a jump of more than 800,000 hot dogs from last year. That is enough to round the bases at Dodger Stadium 4,274 times and based on last year’s attendance, means if everyone had just one, 82 percent of fans at every Dodger home game will eat a hot dog. Continue reading

Gators Luv Pork!

This is breaking news!

The Pork Checkoff has just released
the results of a nationwide competition to discover which state has the most #PorkLUV – and Florida wins!

After sharing more than 2,400 declarations, 30,000 fresh pork meals will be donated and divided among food banks within the state. North Carolina and New York were close behind, and with more than 17,400 total shares from coast to coast, it’s obvious that America’s passion for pork is hot.

Where did your state rank?


Grassley and Ag Reject Japan’s TPP Offer

grassley-headSenator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took time between votes today to join with several agricultural organizations and voice strong opposition to Japan’s negotiating position in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership to exclude a number of agricultural products as part of a final agreement.

“Japan seems to believe that they’re entitled to keep five sacred agriculture products off the table,” said Grassley, who said he just spoke with US Trade Representative Michael Froman this morning about the issue, stressing that when Japan agreed to join the negotiations they knew everything had to be on the table. “We’ve got to hold their feet to the fire.”

“The third largest country in the world can’t make protectionist moves like that without it having a ripple effect,” he added.

The five broad agricultural product categories that Japan wants to exempt from the TPP agreement are pork and beef, wheat and barley, rice and starch, dairy, and sugar. Participating in a conference call with Grassley today were representatives from the National Pork Producers Council,
American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, and the National Association of Wheat Growers Association. All of them and more are strongly urging the administration to reject Japan’s offer.

Listen to the press conference here: Ag Groups Reject Japan's TPP Offer

#PorkLuv Share-a-Thon

#PorkLuvDo you have pork love? If so, share it. How? By using the #PorkLUV hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It can be good for your state since the Pork Checkoff is running a contest to feed hungry people.

Pork fans who share their #PorkLUV will be helping their state compete for a food bank donation of 30,000 meals of fresh pork. The state that shares the most #PorkLUV from February 14 to March 7 will receive the pork, divided amongst food banks throughout the state. In addition to supporting the cause, everyone who shares a little #PorkLUV will receive a $1-off fresh pork coupon. 1

“#PorkLUV is all about giving our fans a chance to declare their passion and share it among friends and family – all in the name of a great cause,” said Randy Brown, vice chair of the Pork Checkoff Domestic Marketing committee and a farmer from Nevada, Ohio.

Share the #PorkLUV

Sharing your #PorkLUV is as easy as visiting or the Pork Be inspired Facebook page. Once there, simply:

· Click “Share your #PorkLUV”
· Select your favorite pork cut
· “Share” the love to add your #PorkLUV to the interactive map

Pork Production Summit at IPPE

ippe-14-novus-escobarThe VIV International Pork Production Summit was held as part of the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) last week in Atlanta and one of the presenters was Dr. Jeffrey Escobar of Novus International.

Dr. Escobar discussed in detail “Nutrient digestibility and gut health” as well as “Organic trace mineral bioavailability and functional effects in animals” – topics he addressed last summer at the World Pork Expo. He explained how applying nutrient digestibility concepts and the use of certain enzymes, such as Novus’ Cibenza DP100, can help hog producers reduce waste and lower feed costs. “So what Cibenza DP100 will do is help the enzymes already present in the pig and increase the digestibility of the proteins present in the feed with a net gain of more amino acids believed delivered to the animal,” he said.

Listen to a summary of Dr. Escobar’s points in this interview from World Pork: Interview with Novus' Dr. Jeffrey Escobar

International Production and Processing Expo Photos

Sponsored by Novus International Inc

Expo Not Just For Poultry Anymore

ippe-14-novus-olsenOnce it was just the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta this time of year, but with the addition of the feed expo a few years ago and the meat expo last year, it is now a much more breed inclusive show and pork was center of the plate in the Pig Pavilion.

I had the chance to watch North American Meat Association (NAMA) standards and specifications adviser Steve Olson give a primer on specialty and primal pork cuts at the International Production and Processing Expo this week. As a former livestock and meat marketing specialist with USDA, this guy really knows his stuff and loves what he does. With NAMA, he travels around the country doing Center of the Plate Training® (COP) sessions to teach food industry people the best and most profitable use of each beef, pork, lamb, veal and poultry cut. The next one will be at Texas A&M, June 3-5, 2014. You can also see some of Steve’s Meat Buyers Guide training demos on-line.

Listen to my interview with Steve here and watch a bit of his demo at IPPE below: Steve Olson, North American Meat Association

International Production and Processing Expo Photos

Sponsored by Novus International Inc

Novus at Production and Processing Expo

novus-ippeOnce again we are pleased to bring you coverage of the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, courtesy of our friends at Novus International.

IPPE is the new name for the combination of International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo, and International Meat Expo, which all integrated together in 2013. The 2014 IPPE will bring together more than 1,100 exhibitors and over 25,000 attendees in Atlanta this week.

As part of the event, Novus is hosting a full week of events and educational opportunities for the industry, starting with the International Poultry Scientific Forum (IPSF) today which precedes the IPPE tradeshow. Kicking it off will be a luncheon to discuss “How Consumer Preference Drives Poultry Processing” by Dr. Shelly Mckee of Auburn University.

Sponsored by Novus International Inc

Truth Behind the Star of Every Big Game – BACON

As millions of Americans gather around their televisions on the first Sunday in February, there’s one star that’s already a winner even before the kickoff. Whether it’s a main ingredient, an appetizer or simply a garnish, bacon is the standout star of any dish. But, there’s a side of the bacon story that most Americans aren’t so familiar with.

Just like a conditioned star athlete, a lot of hard work, dedication and countless hours go into making sure the bacon found in fan-favorite recipes is top quality.

Modern animal housing provides a well ventilated, warm (a must-have for those cold, snowy days) and clean home where the pigs receive a diet that meets their specific nutritional needs. And these are just a few of the ways that pig farmers across the country are dedicated to making sure the bacon on your table, and theirs, is a top pick.

“Our pigs are our highest priority on our farm,” says Jennifer Debnam, a pig farmer from Kennedyville, Md. “We constantly have to be at the top of our game, using the latest technologies and advancements in animal health. No matter the weather, time of day or time of year, we make sure that our pigs are healthy and well taken care of – not only for the well-being of the pig, but so that you never have to worry about bacon being available at the grocery store.”

This video from the United Soybean Board, titled “The Truth Behind Bacon,” shows that from the farm field to the football field, hard work is part of the recipe to bring home a winner.

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

Research, Promotion & Education at Pork Board

nafb-13-nafb-13-36The National Pork Board is the entity that conducts research, provides education and promotes the product. They were at the recent NAFB Convention and I caught up with them during the always busy, yet fun and exciting Trade Talk.

Dale Norton, Vice President of the National Pork Board, farms with his brother in Michigan and has been a part of the pork industry on the national level for about 15 years. Dale’s major role for the organization is to manage the money that comes in through the checkoff program. In an interview with me, Dale touches on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED), the research being done and the Pork Checkoff.

“There’s no safety issue with PED. Pork is perfectly safe. That’s one thing the public needs to know. For producers impacted it’s a real test to their economic stability. Those that have pigs that are between birth and 28 days and are affected are almost 100% fatal. It takes a period of time in the herd to create immunity. Part of what has happened with Pork Board is we have really made an expedited effort to put research together to help minimize the impact that it is going to have.”

The Pork Board has a We Care initiative that is in place to help educate the public and show that the producers truly care about their animals, their communities and the environment. They are also busy sharing recipes and proper cooking techniques. Dale says one of their catchphrases is ‘cook it like a steak.’ Seven minutes on each side gives you a good medium, juicy chop.

Marketing to the millennial generation is also key for the board. They recently released a free e-book called Cooking For Comfort. They are also very present online via social media. Check them out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Listen to my complete interview with Dale here: Interview with Dale Norton

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Pork Council Talks Animal Health, Markets & Trade

nafb-13-32-editedThe National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) was among many ag groups who took advantage of NAFB Convention’s Trade Talk to discuss issues with farm broadcasters from across the country. Dr. Howard Hill, President-Elect, for NPPC was on hand along with Steve Meyer, NPPC Economist.

Each hit on the one of the most talked about topics when if comes to animal health in the pork industry and that of course is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PED). The virus is thought of have entered the United States back in April of this year. Research has shown that it likely originated in China. Dr. Hill stressed the amount of research that is being conducted to combat this epidemic, but a cure has yet to be found.

Sticking to the topic of animal health Dr. Hill also hit on FDA Guidance 209. “Any antibiotic that is used for growth promotion that also has applications in the human medical field will not be allowed. If it has a label for treatment, prevention or control then it will still be on the market.”

Listen to my complete interview with Dr. Hill here: Interview with Dr. Howard Hill

nafb-13-35-editedAs an economist, Steve quickly recapped the 2013 pork markets stating that markets were of course low coming out of 2012. But producers got back in the black throughout the summer and have been making money since then. Looking into 2014 for pork producers a good corn crop means low feed prices. He committed on the futures markets and says it looks up for producers heading into the next year.

Steve went on to discuss the export market. Though it has been low over the last year the future looks optimistic and should increase throughout 2014.

Listen to my complete interview with Steve here: Interview with Steve Meyer

NPPC is also leading an ad hoc coalition of agricultural and food organizations urging Congress to establish criteria for revoking a country’s tariff-free access to the U.S. market if it fails to give U.S. products treatment consistent with international trade rules.

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Update from Animal Ag Alliance at NAFB

nafb-13-12-editedThe Animal Agriculture Alliance has been busy over the course of the last year staying up-to-date on animal ag issues, researching current activist campaigns and advocating farm policy. At the 2013 NAFB Convention I met up with Kay Johnson Smith, President and CEO, and Emily Meredith, Director of Communications during the events Trade Talk.

Hot topics of discussion included the Animal Rights Conference Report, Meatless Monday campaign, Farm Protection legislation, their outreach efforts and the 2014 Stakeholders Summit.

Kay shared that they recently attended the Animal Rights Conference Report to better understand what our industry needs to be on the lookout for throughout the next year. The key takeaways from the event were three target audiences these activist groups are focusing on. They include retail restaurants, youth K-12 and students on college campuses as well as, health conscious adults.

Listen to my complete interview with Kay here: Interview with Kay Johnson Smith

nafb-13-15-editedThe Animal Ag Alliance took it upon themselves to do a little digging into the Meatless Monday campaign and the results were shocking. You can checkout their complete report here. Emily shared how people were really surprised and that with such busy news cycle many of the mainstream news media take fact checking for granted.

The 2014 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit is scheduled for May 8-9 in Arlington, VA. “Cracking the Millennial Code,” is the topic of discussion and will cover hot-button issues including antibiotics, animal welfare, sustainability and communication through the lens of a Millennial.

Listen to my complete interview with Emily here: Interview with Emily Meredith

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Pork Checkoff Launches Free Electronic Cookbook

pork checkoff logo_151An electronic cookbook, titled Cooking for Comfort, has just made it’s debut from the Pork Checkoff. This free e-book features favorites and new twists on classic recipes from James Beard, Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, barbecue expert and author Ray Lampe, along with food bloggers from across the U.S.

“Pork plays a part in many of our favorite comfort food dishes – they are nutritious, soothing, savory and delicious,” said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and a producer from Minnesota. “This e-cookbook is the perfect way to celebrate pork and engage our consumers this holiday season.”

The quick and easy guide to pork recipes highlights great ways to warm up this winter and serves as an inspiration for us all in the kitchen.

The first 15,000 people to download Cooking For Comfort in November will receive a $1 coupon for fresh pork, with another 10,000 coupons available starting December 1. To download visit and don’t forget it’s free.

Mmmmm, Bacon!

bacon-bowl-logo2The inaugural Bacon Bowl, presented by Petit Jean Meats, is just a month away. Saturday, October 26, in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Northwest Arkansas Mall is the day to see if your personal bacon-inspired dish is worthy of a trip representing the Bacon Bowl at the 6th Annual New Orleans Food Fest. Spots are going fast for the event so sign-up as soon as possible to secure a spot for your entree or dessert.

Bacon Bowl and Petit Jean Meats is supporting Youth Bridge, a local non-profit agency that plays an important role in communities across North Arkansas and gives area young people the confidence, education and interpersonal skills they need to face today’s problems and tomorrow’s challenges.

At the competition you can also take in the Dallas Cowboys Grill Team, who will be on hand offering grilling demonstrations. Reality TV star, Adam Pock from Big Brother Season 13 will be one of the celebrity judges. As a lover of bacon, Adam actually had a bacon-themed wedding and can give some tips you if too are interested in tying the knot “bacon style.”

Other competitions throughout the day include the Great Day Farm Egg Toss and the Petit Jean Meats Pig-Out bacon eating contest.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, September 27 at the Northwest Arkansas Mall and in Macadoodles in Springdale, Arkansas. For more information visit

Pork Summer Advertising Success

ZimmCast 408The National Pork Board has just recently concluded a summer domestic marketing advertising campaign and the results seem to be very successful when looking at supplies and demand.

Pork Checkoff ReportThe United States Department of Agriculture has announced that June 2013 frozen pork supplies are down 14 percent from the previous month, and down nearly 5 percent on a year-over-year basis, reflecting higher demand for pork.

According to the July 23, 2013,Daily Livestock Report, total pork inventories at the end of June were 564.9 million pounds, or 4.7 percent lower than in June 2012. TheDaily Livestock Report- written by economists Steve Meyer, Ph.D. and Len Steiner – also noted that “pork stocks normally decline in June, but this year the month-to-month change in pork inventories was 14.3 percent, the largest volume depletion in 20 years.”

Earlier this week (end of July) the Pork Checkoff wrapped up a six-week radio advertising campaign in an effort to capitalize on new pork chop names and favorable pork prices for consumers. The report of lower frozen inventories is occurring on the heels of both the consumer campaign and aggressive promotions with major grocery retailers. The retail promotions featured ribs and chops, with specific advice at the meat case to cook pork chops “like a steak.”

To learn more about the summer campaign and factors that have played into the need for an aggressive campaign I spoke with Chris Novak, Pork Board CEO. He says that in addition to higher input costs the industry was facing some restricted export markets while supplies were increasing. So the board decided to take action that followed on top of the announcement of the names for pork cuts. In addition to the advertising campaign Chris says there were also some key marketing campaigns with major grocery store retailers. He calls it a win for pork producers and consumers since the market situation made pork have more value and the marketing offered a number of new recipes.

We also discussed how there has been some concern from beef producers over the names of new pork cuts like

· Pork Porterhouse Chop (previously a loin chop)
· Pork Ribeye Chop, bone-in (previously a rib chop center)
· Pork Ribeye Chop (previously a rib chop)
· Pork New York Chop (previously a top loin chop)

He says that consumers will know the difference between a chop and a steak. He says it is friendly competition for the center of the plate and that the beef and pork industries also work together in a lot of ways including consumer marketing through efforts like the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. A new fall campaign is planned.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Pork Board Summer Campaign

If you didn’t get to hear the summer promotion radio ads then give ‘em a listen and let us know what you think:

Pork Radio Ad 1 Pork Radio Ad 2

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.

Meeting the Rib Whisperer

The Rib WhispererI’ve eaten a lot of ribs and have judged the World Pork Expo’s BarbeQlossal once upon a time. However, I have just eaten the best ribs ever. Cooked by The Rib Whisperer, Trace Arnold. He’s on a Cross-Country Cookout and I found him at the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in downtown Sturgis.

The HISTORY® Cross-Country Cookout Welcomes Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Attendees
The 80-foot long Ultimate Smoker and Grill, designed and operated by grill-master Trace “Rib Whisperer” Arnold, is the size of a tanker and is hauled by a semi. In the unique smoker chamber, Arnold can slow-smoke more than 2,000 pounds of meat. Hidden beneath the 20-foot hydraulic lid is a wood-fired grill with the capacity to cook 1,000 hotdogs, 500 hamburgers or 200 16 oz. steaks at once.

Of course I had to visit with Trace and am sharing our conversation here: Interview with the Rib Whisperer

HISTORY fans at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 4-6 are welcome to visit the HISTORY Cross-Country Cookout to sample the Rib Whisperer’s tasty hickory-smoked and jalapeno cheddar sausage and play backyard games like cornhole and ladder golf to win HISTORY merchandise and prizes. Learn more about the HISTORY Cross-Country Cookout tour at

2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 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.

Chicks Rockin the Swine Industry

Dr Abby HardingThere are hundreds of women rockin the swine industry and there is no better place to meet some of these women than during a Swine Link event. Swine Link is a network for women, by women and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, and is focused on women in agriculture and especially women in the swine industry. Several women took on Des Moines, Iowa on July 12-13, 2013 including Dr. Abbey Harding, a swine vet working with Lowe Consulting.

I had a chance to get to know Dr. Harding a bit over the weekend and asked her how she became a swine vet. Like so many other vets, she knew she wanted to be a vet for small animals since she was young, but after working with production animals and enjoying the experience, she shifted gears. She said since joining the swine industry, she has discovered that she really enjoys the travel and working with the people in the industry, including other swine vets.

Dr. Harding said she came to Swine Link through an invitation from Dr. Erin Johnson. She mentioned that the event has been a great experience for her and has really enjoyed getting to know the other women who participated. She said it was also great to put a face to a name, such as Dr. Marie Culhane, with whom she has been corresponding one various swine issues.

She encourages other women to participate in Swine Link and gave a piece of advice for others: “Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things.” Schools are time to take advantage of different opportunities and she encourages women and men alike to try out swine medicine.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Abbey Harding here: Chicks Rockin the Swine Industry

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

A Few Words From 2 Swine Industry Mentors

Historically the swine industry has been dominated by men, but over the past few years, the dynamic is changing as more women join the industry. Yet despite the accomplishments women have made in the workforce over the past 100 years, it can still be challenging to be a woman in a male dominated world. That is one reason why Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI) launched Swine Link, a network for women by women.

This past weekend, BIVI hosted an event for several swine vets and other women in the industry to help them network among their peers as well as offer them some educational opportunities. Two women came in from North Carolina, Dr. Melissa Billing and Dr. Jessica Seate both with Murphy-Brown.

Dr Mellisa BillingI asked Dr. Billing about her experience as a female in the swine industry as well as one of the most important things she took away from the weekend. She knew since she was six that she would be a vet, but it wasn’t until vet school that she decided she wanted to land a job in the swine industry. Dr. Billing is unique in that when she began in the industry, her boss was a woman and she really looked up to her as a role model to show her the way in the industry and profession. She said that she really enjoyed interacting with other women in the industry and getting to know other professionals.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Melissa Billing here: Advice from Dr. Melissa Billing

Dr Jessica SeateDr. Jessica Seate was one of the newest vets in the swine industry and unlike many of her colleagues, she knew she wanted to be a swine vet since undergrad. She said she has some really great professors and mentors at Michigan State University who really helped her pursue her goal of practicing swine medicine. She said that her entry into the field hasn’t been that difficult, but what has been challenging is working with older growers who are set in their ways, to introduce new management tools and ideas. Dr. Seate said she enjoys participating in events such as Swine Link because it gives her the ability to bounce ideas of other professionals.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Jessica Seate here: Advice from Dr. Jessica Seate

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

Maintaining Motivation During a PRRS Break

Dr Erin JohnsonMaintaining motivation among your producers is challenging during a PRRS outbreak (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) but it is an important action to be taken to keep a swine herd healthy. During the Swine Link event held in Des Moines, Iowa on July 13, 2013 and sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim (BIVI), Dr. Erin Johnson, PRRS Technical Manager for BIVI led an interactive discussion on ideas for motivating team members.

Swine Link is focused on women in the swine industry and is a network focused on both interacting with other women and also on educational opportunities. I had to ask Dr. Johnson how she got involved and became a mentor, in the swine industry.

It turns out Dr. Johnson is not a typical swine girl – she fell in with the wrong crowd in vet school and during her senior year became interested in pigs although at the time, her main focus was livestock. However, she said, she knew that she wanted to stay in the Midwest and would have to branch out of dairy and after an externship focused on pigs, decided that was the right place for her to be.

With a focus on PRRS, Dr. Johnson has first hand experience on the frustration that PRRS can cause. She noted that the industry has techniques, tools, vaccines and management tools but none of these things really address the people. She said that every day and every farm takes people to get things done and the industry can’t lose focus on motivating the person to do the right things when it comes to PRRS and other issues. She has done this through giving them a greater sense of purpose and helping them better understand where they are going and why.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Erin Johnson here: Maintaining Motivation During a PRRS Break

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