International Conference on Pig Survivability set for October 28-29

White sow with 13 nursing white piglets in farrowing stall.

link opens in new window/tab pdf file opens in new window/tab

MANHATTAN, Kansas — The International Conference on Pig Survivability is planned for October 28 and 29 in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Hilton Omaha. The conference is part of the Improving Pig Survivability project, a five-year, interdisciplinary, multi-university project funded by the National Pork Board and Foundation for Food and Agriculture. It's aimed at reducing mortality in the U.S. swine industry by 1% or more per year of the project.

Joel DeRouchey, swine extension specialist with Kansas State University, said the conference objective is to facilitate the discussion and dissemination of the most current information relative to sow, litter, weaned pig and grow-finish mortality.

“By featuring presentations and panel discussions from industry leaders and scientific experts, we want to bring the industry together to motivate change,” he said. “We want attendees to walk away with a sense of urgency toward the issue of mortality and some practical ideas of what to do about it.”

Jason Ross, director of Iowa State University's Iowa Pork Industry Center, said attendees will hear from well-known presenters.

“The conference will feature speakers from an array of swine-related businesses and organizations that will discuss relevant, take-home messages to impact swine survivability," he said.

Confirmed speakers and topics are:

  • Dr. Lee Schulz, Iowa State University; economics of swine mortality
  • Ron Ketchem, Swine Management Services, a division of MetaFarms; trends of U.S. swine survivability
  • Dr. Bill Christianson, COO of Genus PIC; trends of international swine survivability 
  • Cassie Edgar, McKee, Voorhees, and Sease, PLC; advancing technology — regulatory, advocating, and future
  • Gustavo Pizarro, DVM, Pipestone Veterinary Services; industry successes and failures in pre-weaning survivability
  • Chris Rademacher, DVM, Iowa State University; industry successes and failures in post-weaning survivability
  • Valerie Duttlinger, Chief Analytics Officer at Summit Smart Farms; finding the right people for the right jobs
  • Sara Probst Miller, DVM, Ag Create Solutions president and creative director; effective training: what works and what does not
  • Larry Coleman, DVM; keeping the urgency with employees
  • Dr. Justin Ransom, senior director, Sustainable Food Strategy at Tyson Foods; social responsibility of pig survivability
  • Dr. Fernando Bortolozzo, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; breeding herd mortality: opportunities for measurable impact
  • Dr. Kara Stewart, Purdue University; pre-weaning mortality: opportunities for measurable impact
  • Deb Murray, DVM, New Fashion Pork; nursery mortality: opportunities for measurable impact
  • Jim Pillen, DVM, Pillen Family Farms; finishing mortality: opportunities for measurable impact
  • Bill Even, CEO National Pork Board; call to action
  • Dr. Noel Williams, COO Iowa Select Farms, and Mike Tokach, Kansas State University; conference impressions: now, what should we do to capture value in academics and industry
  • Numerous industry panels for interactive discussions

To learn more about the conference, visit Registration will open in May. To be notified when registration is open and to receive other updates from the Improving Pig Survivability project, subscribe to project updates at

The Improving Pig Survivability project is organized as a collaborative effort by Iowa State University, Kansas State University and Purdue University. 



IPIC was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture (now Agriculture and Life Sciences) and Veterinary Medicine at ISU. Its mission is to promote efficient pork production technologies in Iowa, maintain Iowa's pork industry leadership and strengthen rural development efforts. IPIC focuses its efforts on programs that are integral and complementary to ISU Extension and Outreach. Through IPIC, Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to make their operations more efficient and profitable.

Jason Ross, professor of animal science and director of Iowa Pork Industry Center, 515-290-8647,

2020 News and releases