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Taking Initiative to Help Members Prepare for Industry Changes

Organizational Need for Learning as a Strategy

In 2014, a commonly-agreed upon audit was released; it was to be used to analyze animal well-being and food safety practices at pork production facilities across the United States. All of the major pork processing companies agreed to use the common audit. In the past, these companies had developed their own audits and pork producers selling to more than one company found themselves getting audited using different measures and interpretations. The Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) alleviated this burden.

The National Pork Board, funded by the Pork Checkoff, is charged to execute specific programs in the areas of promotion, research, and education. Educating pork producers about the newly developed CSIA was a high priority for the committees that direct the work of the National Pork Board. The request was for training to be clear, accessible, relatively easy, and useful. Further, the CSIA would be applied soon — the training program needed to be deployed quickly.

Our Solution to Build Capacity

Vivayic worked with a committee of experts identified by the Pork Board to define a strategy for developing a collection of training modules. The modules focused on key aspects of the audit including timely euthanasia; willful acts of abuse; medication and treatment records; animal benchmarking; caretaker questioning; facilities and equipment; documentation guidelines; and standard operating procedures.

In cooperation with key stakeholders and subject matter experts, Vivayic worked to clarify what would be assessed as well as how it would be assessed. This knowledge was gleaned through interviews with producers who had already completed an audit, producers preparing for an audit, and auditors themselves. These three perspectives provided valuable insight into the gaps where training materials needed to be targeted.

Training modules were designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Each 10-minute module began with a detailed subject-specific introduction followed by a comprehensive explanation of the purpose and importance of each subject. Next, a real-life audit scenario was presented to the learner and a simulation led the learner through how to prepare or respond. Learners were then able to apply their knowledge when another real-life audit scenario was defined. The learner was asked to prepare or respond and then given feedback through a virtual coach. Finally, a certificate of completion was offered should the learner need to submit documentation.

In cooperation with key stakeholders and subject matter experts, Vivayic worked to clarify what would be assessed as well as how it would be assessed.

Results that Matter

Five modules were released in mid-2017. The overwhelming feedback was that modules in the other main areas needed to be developed quickly. The training modules were providing the needed resources to prepare producers and their caretakers for the audit. The three remaining modules were released in the summer of 2018 and are being utilized by pork producers as a key piece in the process of preparing for the audit.

As is often the case with associations, no news is usually good news. The initial concern was that hundreds or thousands of producers would contact the Pork Board seeking assistance to prepare for the CSIA. Instead, call volume and email requests were only slightly more than typical. In addition to the efforts of many states’ extension services to provide in-field training and support, the CSIA modules helped address the questions and concerns of many producers.

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