The use of technology in agriculture today has transformed modern farming. Farmers use technology to automate processes and deliver better animal care. These technologies, along with improvements in barn design, provide the best possible environment for housing pigs throughout all stages of their lives.

Today, most barns are equipped with automatic ventilation systems that constantly monitor the air quality and temperature of barns. Ventilation systems improve the health and safety of animals and barn workers. Many pig barns use fans for ventilation but some are also equipped with curtains that are automatically raised or lowered to let in fresh air and natural light.

Examples Of Technology In Action

We have embraced technology as a training and recruitment tool. Training courses offered by many industry organizations and academic institutions are easily available and distributed nationwide via webinars and computer-based training materials. Individual farms also use computers and devices to stay informed on pertinent issues, including market conditions, weather and disease alerts. This technology allows collaboration with veterinarians and other specialists.

With thousands of pig farms across the nation, delivering and helping implement human resource tools is a big job. Industry organizations coordinate with a network of entities in the pork industry. For example, long-standing relationships with the American Association of Swine Veterinariansand university agricultural extension services aid in the dissemination of these important resources to pork producers. In addition, ongoing work with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America seeks to address workplace safety issues in an effort to continuously improve management practices.

Increasingly, technology helps spread pork industry human resources tools and information to producers and production staff. This includes webinars, podcasts, training videos on CD and DVD, resource websites, interactive digital media and Spanish-translated materials. They bring training materials and opportunities directly to farms, keeping employees up to date on key issues such as workplace safety.

Online Community Advances Collaboration

Since 2005, the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence (USPCE) has brought together academic expertise and research teaching in extension on all aspects of pig farming. The USPCE is a public-private partnership with 25 land-grant universities, 19 state pork associations and both the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council. A key component of USPCE, The Pork Information Gateway, or PIG, is a free online educational resource for farmers to use. The partnership advances the latest research and knowledge on areas of greatest importance to the farmers.