By Carrie Webster

Doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet is a given on the nation’s pig farms. But with continuous improvement always the goal, the Pork Checkoff serves as an ongoing source of the latest certification programs, educational materials, on-farm tools and resources to enable pig farmers to be even more efficient on their farms.

Everything we develop for producers must deliver value,” said Bill Winkelman, vice president of producer and industry relations for the Pork Checkoff. “Our team is on the ground visiting with producers to see what tools can help them do their jobs more efficiently.

Certification programs, such as the Checkoff’s Pork Quality Assurance® Plus program and Transportation Quality Assurance®, are more than educational tools, Winkelman noted.

“These programs, along with the industry’s We CareSM ethical principles, demonstrate pig farmers’ dedication to improvement and doing the right thing in their barns and communities,” Winkelman said.

Following is a sample of Checkoff-funded learning opportunities. For more information, go to

Safety, HR Challenges
The Pork Board hosted a Human Resources and Safety Summit, Sept. 11-13, in Columbus, Ohio. The round-table event focused on on-farm challenges, bringing together human resources and safety managers from production companies in the eastern United States.

The findings from the summit will help guide the development of new educational materials.

New Pig-Handling Tools
Pork Checkoff Safe Pig Handling resources are being expanded to include group housing, breeding/heat-checking, boar studs/semen collection and vaccination/treating. The updated program will include video, PowerPoint and computer-based learning. Safe Pig Handling is focused on reducing both the cost and incidences of workplace injuries associated with animal handling.

Producers, Pigs and Pork
The new Producers, Pigs and Pork educational resource, geared toward students in third through sixth grades, will include classroom plans and materials for teachers. An online curriculum will share the farm-to-table story of raising pigs and teach young learners about agriculture.
To meet the needs of the today’s high-tech classroom, the National Pork Board is working with teachers and state associations to update the resource.