Farmers’ Views Represented in National Gene Editing Discussion

By Kevin Waetke When Randy Spronk took a seat as a panelist at the annual CRISPRcon event in Boston in June, one thing was clear: Defining the societal benefits of gene editing is not easy, but it has to begin now. For Spronk, it meant relating to professors, ethicists, researchers, medical professionals and world health […]

Resetting the Sow Productivity Target

Sow Lifetime Productivity (SLP) is the number of high-quality pigs that a sow weans from the time she becomes breeding eligible until the sow leaves the herd. Compared with the more common measurement of pigs/sow/year, SLP more fully represents a sow’s overall production efficiency and its impact on the enterprise’s profitability. “Pigs/sow/year not only fails […]

Advancing Sow Lifetime Productivity Starts with Why Sows Leave the Herd

By Marlys Miller Sows leave the breeding herd because they die or are culled, but to advance productivity, animal well-being and financial returns, producers need to better understand why. “With about 40 percent of female pigs selected for breeding having nine or fewer pigs in their lifetime, there’s substantial opportunity to improve production efficiency,” said […]

Market Factors at Work Call for Planning

By Steve Meyer Two years ago in this column, I warned producers that things could get rough in the fall and that they should focus on price protection as supplies grew. Spot prices indeed did fall to the lowest level in a decade. And here we are again, with carcass prices in the low $40s. […]

6 Ways to Speak Consumers’ Language

Successful marketing is challenging. Consider a recent Harvard Business Review study that showed that people’s trust has declined in business, government, media and non-governmental agencies. Consumers also don’t trust traditional brands as much as in the past, according to Steve Lerch, account executive with Google. “That’s why it’s important to find the influencers your audience […]

Google-Powered Pork

Big Data + Digital Marketing = Eating More Pork By Darcy Maulsby and Jason Menke Pop quiz – how many times a day do you check your smartphone? 10 times? 20? 60? The answer might shock you. “The average person in the United States checks it 150 times a day,” said Steve Lerch, an account […]

Leading through Communication

By Kevin Waetke George Bernard Shaw wrote that “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Today, that has never been more true. People are distracted – by work, by family and, most recently, by their phones. In this mobile, digital world, phones connect us all. In response, the […]

Increase Professionalism in the Barn with Array of Tools

Pork producers can take advantage of valuable resources thanks to the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence (USPCE). Housed at the Pork Checkoff office as a separate entity, the USPCE is a nucleus for industry collaboration, focusing on research, teaching and Extension and offering resources for producers and students. “Resources available through the USPCE can assist […]

Checkoff Helps Producers Focus on People, Pigs and the Planet

By Carrie Webster Doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet is a given on the nation’s pig farms. But with continuous improvement always the goal, the Pork Checkoff serves as an ongoing source of the latest certification programs, educational materials, on-farm tools and resources to enable pig farmers to be even more efficient […]

Science-Based Approach Provides Real-World Solutions

By Mike King When it comes to the Pork Checkoff’s core mission of research, education and promotion, the National Pork Board’s Science and Technology department delivers. Whether it’s the work of specific, producer- led committees that fund research for PRRS, sow productivity, antibiotics or sustainability, producers are receiving high value for their Checkoff investment. In […]