Through the Looking Glass: Past~Present~Future. We know that knowledge of the past helps us today and leads us to be better in the future. Today, the swine industry is fighting a global battle after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the prevention or rebuilding after African Swine Fever (ASF) and other swine diseases.
Knowledge from the past on how to control disease and the best biosecurity practices, have helped to slow down the spread of ASF and other diseases, but it is still not enough. What we learn today will provide insight to those in the future. So, for now, producers will continue to be dedicated and work hard to provide the world with the quantity and quality level of pork, an excellent source of lean protein. But how did it start, what changes have occurred on the way and where will the path lead?
Pork production is very important for the economy, the livelihood of family farms, as well as the diet of people around the world. It is said that Christopher Columbus had eight pigs when he traveled to Cuba in 1493. Then his successor, Hernando de Soto, brought 13 pigs to Florida, making the first domesticated pigs to set foot in what is now the United States of America.
This was the start which led pork to become a popular food for most farmers to raise during the 1600s and 1700s. As settlers started to caravan westward across the United States, they would take pigs with them. This led to the mid-1800s where processing and distribution of pork expanded.
During the 1900s pork production grew as well as technology milestones during the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the milestones were genetics, production efficiencies, disease prevention and control, quality of pork and data technology such as software (including PigCHAMP), electronic sow feeding (ESF) Systems and so on. Thinking about this, how has pork production advanced to where it is today? How has it changed over the past years? What will it be like in the future?
The 2020 issue of Benchmark features articles from producers, veterinarians, consultants and other industry leaders sharing their knowledge, insight, research and practical experience relating to the past, present and future of many aspects of the swine industry. We are excited to share this issue with you as many of the articles will help to answer the questions above. Happy Reading!