PIC pays tribute to Hanneke Feitsma, who has died at the age of 59

With great sadness, Genus and PIC have announced that Hanneke Feitsma, PIC’s Global Gene Transfer Center (GTC) Quality Assurance Manager, has passed away at the age of 59.

Warm tributes have been paid to a hugely popular figure across the pig industry who has had a big influence on advances in pig genetics over many years.

Steve Furniss, PIC’s commercial director UK and Ireland said he and everyone else at the company was ’truly saddened by this news’.

“Hanneke was a person who had huge heart, passion and enthusiasm for her work and conveyed that from the moment you met her

“She had worked closely with the PIC UK business over many years and was globally known and highly regarded in her field. The UK Industry had also benefited from her knowledge as she was involved in the technical side of setting up the BPEX AI Standard.”

Hanneke was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands and received her veterinary degree from Utrecht University in 1987.

She worked with the Dutch pig AI industry for 25 years, with one of her most significant achievements being the reduction in sperm cells per semen dose from 4 billion cells down to 1.2 billion cells for all Dutch AI studs.

She moved to the USA in 2013, joining PIC as GTC Quality Assurance manager in 2015 and was instrumental in establishing a global quality assurance and quality control programme for PIC’s owned and contracted GTCs.

This has resulted in an increase of consistent, high-quality semen production across PIC’s GTC network, the company said.

Hanneke has published more than 38 articles in different journals and was frequently asked to present on boar semen preservation, boar stud and AI procedures, and hygiene control in boar semen production.

PIC said: “She possessed a wealth of expertise in swine fertility and artificial insemination; excellent character and work ethic; the talent to combine science with the practical realities of the swine industry; and an overall passion to improve swine reproduction and genetic dissemination.

“As a result, Hanneke was a world-renowned expert in her field, influencing many of us in the industry, from academia to business leaders and farm managers.

“Hanneke will be greatly missed, and our thoughts are with her two sons residing in the Netherlands and other family members living across the globe.”

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “This is very sad news. Hanneke was a lovely person, memorable to everybody who met her. Her passion and enthusiasm shone through. She was really pivotal to pig genetics and the AI standard and will be missed right across the pig industry. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.