Pasture Pork 101: Comprehensive Agent Training in Pasture-based Hog production

2006 Annual Report for ES06-083

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2006: $62,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Todd See
North Carolina State University

Pasture Pork 101: Comprehensive Agent Training in Pasture-based Hog production


Initiated the Pasture Pork 101 program. A workshop coordinator was identified, recruited and hired to implement this project. The series on in-service training workshops has been initiated and year two planning accomplished. In-depth training was provided to agents in Pork Muscle Quality, Value Added Processing, and Pork Marketing. In addition, the development of a “Pasture Based Pork Production Manual” has been initiated with the development of new resources and training agents on the use of the Pork Information Gateway (

Objectives/Performance Targets

The Objective of this project is to provide county extension agents with an advanced knowledge and skill set in pasture-based hog production, bolstering the agent’s attitude towards sustainable agriculture, ending a reluctance to provide comprehensive training to local farmers.

Specifically we are facilitating a series of comprehensive training sessions for extension agents covering all aspects of pasture-based hog production enabling these agents to provide more one-on-one technical assistance.

  • Focus training on the incorporation of pigs into diversified farming operations to encourage agents with both crop and livestock appointments to attend and collaborate on farmer training in their own counties.

    Use “model farms” to provide a hands-on training experience.

    Create a series of extension bulletins as part of a larger manual for agents to use and distribute.

    Act as a model for other southern region state programs and participate in regional meetings like Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

    Build on and learn from other successful SARE-funded projects.


Identifed and hired workshop coordinator.

A two-day livestock agent in-service training was held. Participants learned how to access extension bulletins and swine production information through the Pork Information Gateway: . Workshops were also held on pasture development and management, and carcass and meat product evaluation.

A full day “Farm to Fork” training program was designed and held. Participants learned key concepts relating to muscle quality and consumer preference attributes of pork products. Agents learned how feed, genetics and production management impact final product quality. In addition, the slaughter and fabrication process for pork processing was explained. Participants had the opportunity for hands on experience in the NCSU Meat Processing Laboratory to learn meat cutting, sausage making, carcass evaluation and how consumer taste panels are conducted.

A full day in-service workshop is planned and scheduled for May where agents will be certified as advisers in Pork Quality Assurance Plus. After this training agents will be able to assist producers in improving food safety and animal well-being as part of a National initiative.

A full day in-service workshop is planned and scheduled for June, 2007. This training will cover production management techniques for pasture-based pork producers.

Materials are being developed for each training session and are being accumulated for a “Pasture Pork Production Manual”.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

  • Generated excitement amongst Extension Livestock Agents in providing educational programs for pasture-based pork producers.

    Enhanced knowledge on pork quality attributes and pork porcessing.

    Provided materials to Agents for delivery of extension programs to pasture-based pork producers.


Sarah Morgan
Technical Services and Training Coordinator
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 7620
Department of Crop Science
Raleigh, NC 27695
Office Phone: 9195152390