The Future Of The Industry
We surveyed PigCHAMP customers and partners to find out their thoughts on the future of pork.
By Schae Geiter
If you could look into a crystal ball to learn about the future of the swine industry, would you? While the PigCHAMP team does not have any magical powers, we do have a lot of great assets – and one of them is you!
This winter, we reached out to our PigCHAMP customers and partners in the swine industry. We received responses from producers, veterinarians and professors located in the United States, Canada and even Spain. We asked them where they thought the industry would head in the next 10 to 15 years.
We started with the basics. Thinking about consumer demand, their individual operations, the future of trade, and a range of other factors, this group came to a pretty strong consensus that the pork industry is here to stay. Indeed, the majority of respondents forecasted that the number of pigs marketed per year will likely increase over the next decade or so.
Focusing on the topic of consumer demand, those PigCHAMP customers and partners we polled overwhelmingly believed that consumers will likely continue to be interested in the sources of their food.
When it comes to specialized technology, several of our producers agreed that, as costs come down, they would be more willing to adopt precision feeding equipment. Many individuals mentioned the benefits of reduced feed costs and specialized nutrition, while other producers noted potential difficulties, such as adding this technology to older facilities.
Overall, though, about two-thirds of respondents believed that, while specialized feeding for each pig will become more common, this technology will not become standard.
The value of genetic selection is not something our producers and partners take lightly, the survey showed. In total, 65 percent of respondents said genetic selection will become more important than it is today, while another 31 percent said genetic selection will continue to be as important as it is now. In explaining their responses, producers and partners noted such factors as meat quality, consumer demands, disease prevention, economic advancement and efficiency.
For the chart above, we asked respondents which areas of the industry they thought would be the most important in the future. They could each select up to three options from the list.
We also asked producers for more specific insights into three of the areas from the broader list: biosecurity, legislation and technology.
In the realm of biosecurity, producers shared predictions about expanded research projects and increased precautions undertaken by packers and truckers. Many producers and partners noted better identification techniques for those individuals entering the farm, as well as stricter rules and regulations for those people who are allowed on-site.
In terms of legislative changes, respondents predicted the biggest transformations in terms of animal welfare, food safety and environmental regulations. Many producers also foresaw changes with international trade opportunities.
When it comes to technology, survey respondents noted everything from DNA mapping to advanced animal tracking and group housing to barns run without any human staff.
It’s clear that the industry is in good hands, judging by the survey responses. Producers, veterinarians and industry professionals alike are focused on such issues as better record keeping, improved working conditions, disease prevention, advanced genetic selection and overall efficiency.
In our world, change is inevitable. We are bound to see a number of transformations in the swine industry over the next decade and a half!