Pasture Pork 101: Comprehensive Agent Training in Pasture-based Hog production
A series of training workshps were held focusing on production practices, food safety and animal well-being. We were able to recruit a new workshop coordinator who has developed a plan to complete this project this caldendar year. In addition, we have continued to grow and refine the “Pasture Based Pork Production Manual” and train agents on the use of the Pork Information Gateway (ncsu.porkgateway.org).
- 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.
Specific Year Two Objectives
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.
Train and certify agents in the Pork Quality Assurance plus program and promote food safety and animal well being to producers.
Identifed and hired a new workshop coordinator.
A full day livestock agent in-service training was held on “Market and Production of Niche Pork in North Carolina”. Participants learned how to locate market opportunities for producers, how to establish direct marketing systems and limitiations to producers. Specifically, natural resource conservation ad costs of production. Agents also had the opportunity to vist, tour and engage with producers with successful direct marketing programs. Participants were provided with complete resources to conduct local programming.
A full day livestock agent in-service training was held on “Techniques, husbandry & evaluation for outdoor hog produciton”. Participants learned key concepts relating to swine husbandry, animal welfare, nutrition, genetics health management and pastures. Agents learned how feed, genetics and production management impact production costs and productivity. In addition, hands-on activities were conducted at a cooperator farm.
Four full day in-service workshops were conducted where agents were certified as advisers in Pork Quality Assurance Plus. These agents are now 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 September, 2008. This training will cover pasture management and forages 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 the establishment of niche markets and direct markets for pork products.
Enhanced knowledge on niche market pork production practices.
Trained and certified agents to deliver the Pork Quality Assurance plus program.
Provided materials to Agents for delivery of extension programs to pasture-based pork producers.