Iowa experts teach Ukrainian farmers
(Iowa News Service) Livestock and grain experts in Iowa are sharing their experience with Ukrainian farmers who are trying to keep their hog operations viable despite the Russian invasion.
While the ongoing war initially shut down their operations, Ukrainian hog farmers are making a comeback. However, due to blockades and other restrictions, they have nowhere to send their hogs, so they are raising them to be a food source for Ukrainians, and need some advice.
Justin Brown, assistant teaching professor and swine veterinarian at Iowa State University, gets up at 3 a.m. Iowa time to teach about 80 farmers from the Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders best practices and answer their questions.
"With this kind of influx of new pig producers, there was a want and a need for more information on swine diseases and swine health, and biosecurity," Brown outlined.
Ukrainian breeders say about 15 percent of the nation's commercial pig inventory was lost, leading to a 100,000-ton drop in pork production in 2022. Brown and the Ukrainian farmers are optimistic the rejuvenated industry will yield healthy food for the country's citizens.
Brown pointed out blockades have also stopped Ukrainian farmers from exporting their grain, leaving it idle in the country, but providing a ready source of hog feed. Brown emphasized understanding how to feed the animals correctly is a critical part of his message.
"It's part of our jobs to help get that information out, to not only stakeholders here within Iowa and the U.S., but also internationally," Brown explained. "So that we can make pig production better, and help with the welfare and health of pigs all over the world."
"A pig is a pig is a pig," Brown added. While there may be some genetic variances here and there, they are all susceptible to the same diseases, no matter what country they live in.