The Pork Checkoff is introducing a new Certified Swine Manager program this fall to take pork producers to the next level in professionalism.
The program will promote the industry's ideal of continuous improvement and further the We CareSM ethical principles.
In conjunction with this, the new program will define a core body of knowledge needed to achieve standards in pork production, establish educational standards, provide resources to acquire knowledge and offer certification to validate knowledge gained and work accomplished.
"This program, developed with the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence (USPCE), is another tool to help develop the knowledgeable, skilled employees who are invaluable to the success of the pork industry," said Jim Lummus, manager of producer learning and performance for the Checkoff.
To become a Certified Swine Manager, producers will be required to pass assessments, including both a test and an on-the-job evaluation, to confirm the individual's competence in all pork production phases.
The program will not have specific educational requirements but resources and materials will be available to help producers prepare for certification exams.
The assessments will verify employee knowledge, skills and abilities in areas including farm and personnel management, breeding and gestation, farrowing and wean-to-finish.
"We hope producers will realize the program's importance and incorporate it into their leadership development programs," added Lummus.
While the Certified Swine Manager program outlined above will not have educational requirements, materials and resources will be offered to help producers prepare for the certification exams.
The USPCE, in collaboration with the Pork Checkoff, is leading an effort to develop a community college curriculum for pork production workers.
The Professional Swine Manager (PSM) curriculum will include classroom sessions, delivered via Internet by community college instructors experienced in pork production.
Hands-on learning at a farm site and facilitated by a senior production manager will be part of the program.
The courses will qualify for credit toward an associate degree, with the first courses offered this fall.
Courses include Introduction to Swine Production, Sow Farm Management, Wean/Finish Management, Employee Management, Facility Operations, Production Records, and Internship/Work Experience.
The PSM curriculum provides the means to offer economical, reliable training to employees. It also targets community or technical college students interested in becoming involved in pork production after graduation.
"Completing the curriculum will help participants find employment and advancement opportunities in pork production, as well as aiding in passing the certification exams to become a Certified Swine Manager," said Lummus.
"And it's a win for the pork industry, with more skilled, trained individuals in the workforce pool."
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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