At the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City last week one thing was clear. Science and technology are playing a significant role in pork production, and things are moving quickly. National Pork Board member Heather Hill from Greenfield, Indiana attended the forum and marvels at all the change, especially after a gene editing presentation that kicked off the event.
“I always think about my first job out of college,” she said. “Twenty years ago I got a bag phone and a pager and now we have mini computers in our pocket and that same technology applies to our industry and is moving very rapidly. I thought the session on gene editing was very interesting, very thought provoking, definitely a lot to think about from consumer acceptance to regulations and where do we start, and what are the genes we should or shouldn’t be editing for and what that all looks like.”
Hill says the Pork Checkoff is working for pork producers in many ways, including the assist in marketing the product in times like these with large and growing supplies.
“That marketing that the national pork checkoff can do both domestically and internationally is huge for ensuring that my product has a place to go. So, I feel we benefit hugely from that.”
“Two weeks ago, we went through different proposals for research from mycoplasma to Seneca Valley Virus, so I think the research that National Pork Board is doing in all areas, not just swine health but animal welfare and the full gamut. It’s research that we can’t even begin to fathom that needs to be done for us and for the benefit of the future of our product and obviously promotion and education of not only producers but our consumers.”
Hill encourages producers who may question the benefits of the checkoff to actually get involved and learn more about it up close. The past president of Indiana Pork farms with her husband Mark and his parents, running a corn, soybean, wheat and farrow to finish operation.