Banff 2021 – Editorial

Message from the editor

The Banff 2021 edition of the Canadian Hog Journal is here!

This year’s Banff Pork Seminar adopted the theme, “Resiliency in a New World.” In this edition, you will notice that theme woven into the various pieces of coverage and commentary on the presentations delivered during seminar, including topics on economics, disease management, mental health, awards, research and more.

The first-ever Banff Pork Seminar took place in 1972, following an earlier prototypical event held at Olds College, a renowned agricultural institution located about 100 kilometres north of Calgary. Since then, the event has taken place at a handful of venues in the Banff area. From the beginning, the seminar was jointly organized by the University of Alberta, Alberta Pork and the Government of Alberta. The partnership remains unbroken to this day. Prior to COVID, the seminar’s advisory committee had planned to mark the 50th anniversary this year with special in-person festivities. Sadly, we will have to wait for that celebration, but hopefully not too long.

The cover of this edition of the Canadian Hog Journal features Banff’s bridge over the Bow River, constructed in 1923. Adorned with First Nations reliefs and located in the historical lands of the Stoney-Nakoda people, the bridge connects us through time, distance and relationships. The same bridge today connects the seminar’s usual location – the Banff Springs Hotel – with the main townsite to the north.

Over the years, our industry, country and the entire world have changed in so many dramatic ways. COVID-19’s impact and the Banff Pork Seminar’s virtual format this year are a contemporary reminder of how the passage of time can impact choices and alter perspectives. The Canadian pork industry has no shortage of issues that still require mending, but if we can continue establishing honest connections, rather than making excuses for dysfunction, our future looks bright, despite any existing grievances.

The image included in this ‘Message from the editor’ was captured at the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar – my first since entering this industry in June 2018. From left to right, the photo includes Michael Young (former Vice President, Canada Pork), me, Marvin Salomons (farm labour consultant, Salomons Group Solutions) and Ron Gietz (former extension economist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry) – all gentlemen whose depth of knowledge and experience eclipses mine, but certainly positive role models and reminders of the long-term commitments that so many in this industry have made. It is invaluable encounters like these that we lose with a virtual conference, which is unfortunate, but as this year’s seminar theme confirms, resiliency has long been a hallmark of agriculture. We will return.

What are some of your favourite memories from the Banff Pork Seminar? I would love to read those stories and share them in the next ‘Letters to the editor’ section. Reach out to me by emailing