The Banff 2022 edition of the Canadian Hog Journal is here!
This year’s Banff Pork Seminar was truly like none other, employing an in-person and virtual hybrid model. With the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, a sense of anxiety prompted the seminar’s advisory committee to take a closer look at the logistics of returning to a completely virtual format, weighed against the risks associated with reneging on certain financial commitments.
Fortunately, the organizers were able to stick with their original plan, and the in-person portion was conducted with the health and safety of participants in mind, thanks to the seminar facilitators and Banff Springs staff who did a superb job of ensuring everything was conducted according to protocol.
Pig and pork market outlooks for the coming year are always popular presentations at Banff. This year, Alberta Pork’s Bijon Brown provided his analysis of Brett Stuart’s insights, which cover a broad base of topics like global finance, African Swine Fever (ASF) and climate concerns.
I took it upon myself to cover two less-than-comfortable subjects: public trust and vaccines. They are both massive and complicated in nature, and producers will definitely have competing opinions on the topics – all of which are valid, in my opinion. I respect that and encourage your feedback. Dialogue is the cornerstone of the Banff Pork Seminar, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, and I have included a historical look back at the event, the Canadian pork industry and Banff itself.
Vincent ter Beek, editor of Pig Progress, made the long trek from the Netherlands to attend the seminar and deliver the closing plenary session, covering his foray into agriculture. For me, it was an exciting opportunity to meet someone so accomplished and recognized within the industry. I even managed to have a quick chat with him and capture a selfie of us, which is shown on this page. Ter Beek’s presentation is also covered in the public trust piece that I penned.
Treena Hein, one of the Canadian Hog Journal’s long-time dedicated freelance writers, dug into a presentation on Canada’s ASF Executive Management Board (EMB) to ascertain producers’ place within the bigger picture. She also covered a presentation on using alternative feed ingredients and strategies for keeping costs low.
On the side of herd health and management, our partners at Fast Genetics and PIC provided their advice on the best ways to incorporate breeding technologies into your operation and tips on how to use performance variation data to your advantage.
Stewart Skinner, a hog farmer and mental health advocate, provided his response to a presentation on farmer stress, from his own perspective as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety. Healthy coping strategies and looking out for each other remain the most important thing for producers to keep in mind, even beyond farming considerations. Everything else stems from there. The Canadian hog industry is better with you in it, and Skinner proposes that more needs to be done to move past basic awareness of mental health in society toward a more concrete approach to offering – and funding –specific support mechanisms for farmers across the country.
Share your thoughts on this year’s seminar and this edition of the magazine with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could see your words appearing in our Spring 2022 edition, in May! Your comments, suggestions and ideas for topics to cover are always appreciated.