It’s been two years since I last had the opportunity to take a deep dive into writing about hog production. Ironically enough, it was a piece I was working on with Alltech on transitioning to antibiotic-free production for National Hog Farmer.
A lot has changed in two years. In 2016, the industry was preparing for the veterinary feed directive to take place, trying to get a grip on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, and looking to increase production numbers as new packing plants were going up left and right. Now trade, tariffs, nuisance lawsuits and African swine fever are top of mind.
But I will say this — two things have not changed since my time away and those are the industry’s commitment to safe, quality pork production and the sense of community that surrounds that.
I had the opportunity to recently take a tour of the South Dakota State University Swine Education and Research Facility from my former Alltech colleague Ryan Samuel, and I was amazed at all of the latest innovations and technology they have invested in to not only take down the curtains and let students and the public get a first-hand look at commercial pork production, but also to ensure quality animal well-being and environmental friendly practices are in place.
It isn’t status quo with the swine industry. The industry is committed and just keeps getting better and better at raising pork.
The industry is also full of fellowship. After National Hog Farmer announced last week I would be joining the team, I can’t tell you how many people reached out to welcome me. I’m excited to see some old and familiar faces at the upcoming Leman Conference and Pork Congresses, but I’m also eager to meet so many new ones.
And when we do meet, I’ll have an open ear. Please let me know if there’s an innovative producer I need to meet or a grad student who is conducting some ground-breaking research, if there’s a hog facility or processing plant I need to visit, or if there are any topics you’d just like to see more of in National Hog Farmer. I want to hear from you.
I’m happy to be back writing about livestock, more specifically hogs and I’m honored to be joining the National Hog Farmer team.