Spring 2021 – Editorial

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

Find out how COVID-19 hog backlogs could have implications for foreign animal disease planning, and discover what sets the Quebec pig price apart from formulas in western Canada.

Springtime is symbolic of renewal, hope and growth. Inherent to personal growth is education, and education in the pork industry takes many forms. This edition does the long division on several parts to that equation.

Looking back, visionaries George Visser and David Price helped revolutionize western Canadian hog production in years gone by, and their work is now being celebrated in a very permanent sense. Looking forward, producers are collaborating with post-secondary animal science students to virtually share their lived experiences. Find coverage of both in this edition, along with a thought-provoking piece on mentorship from a conservation pig breeder.

My grandmother passed away relatively suddenly in late February in Provost, Alberta, 300 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. In her lifetime, she was a farmer, teacher, wife and mother-of-nine who was no stranger to the kitchen. Her homemade potato noodles with my family’s traditional farmer sausage will always be a favourite meal of mine. She helped encourage my own love of cooking, and a program in Ontario, ‘Six by Sixteen,’ aims to transmit critical culinary skills to Ontario teens. You can read about that program in this edition as well.

On the research side, learn about the potential for using alternative feed ingredients to save costs, and find out about a recent $1 million grant to continue studying disease resilience, with the goal of creating healthier pigs. Both projects represent efforts to help producers protect their bottom lines.

My wife and I welcomed our second child, another daughter, at the end of January, which is a source of great fulfillment for us. Rather fortunately, despite the circumstances, my late grandmother was able to hold our newest daughter in-person shortly before her passing, when we made the snap decision to travel out-of-town to visit her one final time.

Once I catch up on some sleep, I may feel renewed, but for now, my hope is that your businesses and our industry can continue to grow, just as my family has! I await your good news, excited to broadcast it. And even if the news is not always good – an inevitably of life – we can be content knowing that the eternal balance between success and failure, joy and pain, and triumph and tragedy are what create the character-building moments essential to enhancing ourselves, our families and our work.

As we head toward summer and BBQ season, hog prices have sprouted to multi-year highs – a ray of sunshine in a year that has been mostly dim. What’s blooming in your world these days? Let’s plant the seeds of inspiration in each other by sharing ideas! Let your thoughts take root in a ‘Letter to the editor’ by emailing andrew.heck@albertapork.com.