Two groups in the province are working together to offer a swine program at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon.

Assiniboine Community College is introducing a Swine Production Foundations program, with the first intake starting in December.

The online and self-directed program provides learners with an understanding of swine operations, including regulations, health and safety, record keeping, and barn systems and maintenance. It will also cover content on production practices related to stockmanship, pig health care, breeding, farrowing, nursery, and grow and finish.

"The college is excited to collaborate with the Manitoba Pork Council and industry partners to develop a program to meet the needs of modern animal care standards and address workforce needs," said Tim Hore, Dean of the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture & Environment at Assiniboine.

"The program will train the next generation of hog farmers and swine technicians to uphold the strong animal care standards the hog sector is responsible for." Hog farmers are required to follow a Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs. The code consists of 105 federally regulated rules to ensure the province's hog sector continues to be a respected world leader in producing safe, high-quality protein.

Upwards of 14,000 Manitobans depend on the hog sector for their livelihood, with over 2,500 employed onfarm as swine technicians and managers. “Everyone who makes their living in the hog sector in Manitoba shares the same set of values, focused on providing the best animal care, and the new Swine Production Foundations program ensures we continue to be leaders in that area," said Rick Préjet, Chairman of the Manitoba Pork Council.

"We are thrilled to have worked with Assiniboine Community College on this program as we seek to train a new generation of farm owners and staff that will carry on the tradition of being global leaders in animal care."

Assiniboine will also introduce two additional programs to advance knowledge and leadership skills for swine technicians, which are anticipated to launch in 2023.