US professor highlights value of being able to change quickly

Pig farmers need to understand the whole production chain from birth to plate, putting themselves in position to adapt quickly to change, says University of Minnesota pig industry specialist, Professor John Deen.

The keynote speaker at Quality Meat Scotland’s Scottish Pig Industry conference, Prof. Deen (pictured above) told delegates that while disease, marketing and prices were constant long-term themes for the industry, producers today had to cope with issues which weren’t such a factor for farmers in the past.

“Pig quality is all about the challenges of getting a pig to slaughter point effectively and consistently,” he said, adding that in the past that was all farmers really had to worry about.

“Now you not only have to be concerned with disease and welfare, but also about the quality of pork to give consumers a good eating experience. Pig farmers today have to have the answer to all the consumer questions on production, disease, welfare and eating quality.”

Stressing the importance of also focusing on quality in both marketing and manufacturing he added that Scottish pig producers have an advantage over farmers in the US.

“The fact that the industry here is small in comparison to the US means you can change direction more quickly, taking advantage of changes in technology, production techniques and markets,” he said.

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