Virginia Cooperative Extension will host a small-scale and niche market pork production conference Nov. 6-7 at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk, Virginia. The fourth annual conference is sponsored by Virginia Pork Council, Inc. and the Virginia Agricultural Council. 

“The U.S. swine industry has experienced significant changes over the past 30 years, including a decrease in the number of farms, an increase in the size of existing operations, and a move towards vertical integration,” said Mark Estienne, a professor of animal and poultry science in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist. “However, an increasing number of small-scale and niche market farmers are producing pork for consumers that prefer their meat to be from hogs raised locally in less-intensive systems. This conference is designed to address the educational needs of these producers.” 

A variety of topics will be addressed by swine scientists and allied industry personnel, including pig health and well-being, marketing, and genetics and breeding. Friday afternoon sessions will include training in swine artificial insemination. 

There is no fee for attending, but all participants must register by Oct. 30. For more information about the conference and to register, email Mark Estienne or call 757-657-6450, ext. 408.