National Hog Farmer is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Hog producer shares insight of gene editing advantages

National Hog Farmer It is estimated that porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus costs US hog producers 640 million with an additional 360 million in annual veterinary costs making it the most significant disease facing todayrsquos industry Vaccines biosecurity measures and proposed methods for eradication have had limited successThe aim of the PRRS Host Genetics Consortium is to identify genomic markers and pathways associated with host response to PRRSV infection These markers could potentially b
CRISPRcon addresses role of emerging technology on human, animal and crop health.

The future potential benefits of gene editing spans many aspects of life — from human and animal health to agriculture and conservation. Gene editing makes precise, intentional and beneficial changes in the genetic material of living things. As one of the tools used for gene editing, CRISPR technology shows tremendous promise for improvements in human health and food production.

Of course, such technology does not come without controversy.

Randy Spronk, hog producer from Edgerton, Minn., recently had a place at the table to share his and agriculture’s perspective on the use of gene editing and the future of the technology. He joined researchers, academics, human health experts, agriculture professionals, non-profit leaders and regulators at CRISPRcon, that was held in Boston and organized by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

“Gene editing will give us, as farmers, more options in how we produce pork in a way that is responsible for people, pigs and the planet,” says Spronk, a third-generation farmer from Edgerton, Minn. Spronk is a former president of the National Pork Producers Council who, along with his son, raises pigs, soybeans and corn.

One of the most devastating diseases to pigs is porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome. Before gene editing, there has not been an effective cure for the PRRS virus, which results in tremendous suffering and often premature death of affected pigs. Through gene editing, genetic resistance to PRRS can be created through a process that mirrors what could happen naturally or through traditional genetic selection. Decreasing PRRS cases would alleviate pigs’ suffering, reduce the use of medically important antibiotics, and help farmers keep pace with the growing demand for more and better food, while using fewer natural resources.

“As a farmer and pork producer, I believe we should openly and transparently communicate the potential benefits and responsible use of gene editing,” Spronk says. “I welcome every chance I get to talk to people about how I farm.”

Watch this video to see what Spronk has to say about taking pork producers’ message to such a stage.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.