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South Dakota Swine Summit Presents Industry Opportunities to Young Producers

BROOKINGS, S.D. — July 8, 2024 — Young people with an interest in swine learned more about swine production and career opportunities at the second annual South Dakota Swine Summit on June 13, presented at South Dakota State University by SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Pork Producers Council.

Thirty participants, including 25 who ranged in age from 12 to 18, learned about animal health, biosecurity, nutrition and carcass evaluation during the event. Additional sessions were held on showmanship and daily care for show pigs.

“The overall goal was to capture the young people who are involved in showing pigs or have a couple of pigs at home but weren’t considering the swine industry as a career,” said Christina Bakker, SDSU assistant professor and Extension specialist in meat science. “We gave them a glimpse of what a career in swine production might look like for them.”

Held in conjunction with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, the event featured SDSU swine faculty Ryan Samuel, Bob Thaler and Crystal Levesque, as well as Tommy Norman, SDSU instructor and livestock judging coach, and veterinarian Dr. Evan Koep from Pipestone Systems. In addition, members of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council board of directors shared their knowledge of the pork industry.

“SDSU is set up well for this type of program,” Bakker said. “We teach biosecurity at the new swine facility, then demonstrate those concepts by walking the raised hallway to view farrowing and sow gestation housing. The group also toured an offsite hog barn where participants had to ‘gown up’ for a tour of research on a large scale.

“The next step was to the Animal Science Arena for showmanship and daily care instruction for those interested in showing pigs,” Bakker added.

The final part of the day was held at the SDSU Meat Lab classroom for instruction on measuring yield of lean meat and what that means for live analysis prior to sale. “The meat lab experience helps the participants become better consumers as well, judging cuts and tenderness levels that will result in the best experiences they can have as a consumer,” Bakker said.

The third annual South Dakota Swine Summit is planned for 2025.

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