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2019 Banff Pork Seminar

Inside BPS Blog

News from the Meristem editors from inside the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar.

Amy Cronin: New chair has a global vision for BPS

Date posted: December 11, 2018

Amy Cronin new BPS Chair

The Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) has a new chair for 2019. And in many ways producer Amy Cronin is a natural representative for a modern, continually evolving Seminar.

BPS draws delegates from across North America and globally. Cronin and her husband Mike are producers in Ontario and in the U.S. and deeply interested in global developments.

BPS has always had a strong leadership focus in speaker presentations. Cronin is a young female entrepreneur and industry leader at a time when more women are moving into industry leadership.

BPS has championed industry diversification. Cronin and her husband are 100 percent in the hog industry but heavily focused on diversification. Each operates their own companies choosing their own business philosophies, to follow their dreams, together and separately.

They provide different things to different customers, some commodity markets, some niche markets, all with a real focus on having long-term win-win relationships. "For example in Canada we sell weaner pigs to the same customer we have for 20 years. That's really important to us," says Cronin.

A vision for BPS

That optimism about opportunities in the pork industry carries over to Cronin's BPS leadership.

"BPS is a conference that gathers the attention of industry across the globe," she says. "It offers the entire industry from producers to service providers to processors the opportunity to come together to learn what's new. It also gives people the platform to do some really great networking, not just within their community, province or even country, but globally.

"The pork industry has a lot of different business models. Whether you are an independent or a vertically integrated producer there are equal opportunities at BPS.

"We need to continually focus on making this seminar global. Attracting people from around the world allows a smaller industry to broaden its network. We're also an industry very much influenced by global occurrences.

"When you have the opportunity to bring in really high level speakers who speak on everything from on-farm solutions to visionary what-if scenarios, it gives everyone a chance to learn from each other and to go home and think about improvements on their farm. It also looks at what the next 20 to 50 years in the hog industry will look like and how you might include some different ideas into your strategic plan in order to be successful in that time.

"I just hope that people from throughout the industry, big or small, independent or vertically integrated continue to be part of and see value in BPS. Last year we had record numbers. That tells me people support the initiative and see value in it. I want to continue to see that. It's fantastic to put the pork industry in the limelight.

"The goal is always to have people leave feeling more informed, more empowered and more prepared to make good decisions on their farm when they get home."

Young scientists and innovators highlight BPS Breakout Session 8

Date posted: December 11, 2018

Each year, young scientists gather at the Banff Pork Seminar to tell the story of their research efforts. For delegates it's a look into the future of their industry, for potential employers it's a chance to look at some of the most promising talent emerging in the market.

Breakout Session 8, which takes place on Wednesday afternoon only, is where the winning student research posters selected are chosen to give presentations on their work. Outside the session doors will be posters of all other young scientist entries, all of it interesting in its own right.

"What has been nice this past year with the R.O. Ball Young Scientist Award was we had students from the U.S. and from Eastern Canada," says Michael Dyck, 2019 BPS program co-chair. "So it wasn't just the usual suspects from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, but competing with students from Ontario as well as Iowa State University. We hope it will continue this year."

The other part of Breakout Session 8 is the F. X. Aherne Award winner's presentation. "This award is always a very popular draw for delegates to attend this session because it represents on-farm innovation that can be adopted in other operations," says Ruurd Zijlstra, co-chair with Dyck for BPS 2019.

"This session allows people to get a full view of the prize winning innovation and to ask questions directly to the presenter. The F. X. Aherne Prize and the R. O. Ball Young Scientist Award will be awarded officially on Thursday morning prior to the morning plenary session."

Full details are available at www.banffpork.ca.

"Beyond the horizon" plenary wraps up BPS 2019

Date posted: December 3, 2018

Mylène Paquette

Most players in the pork industry will remember a time in their lives where they felt like they were staring off into the horizon not sure what was coming up.

Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2019 wraps up with a powerful speaker who has done that and has a remarkable personal story of endurance and personal growth.

Mylène Paquette, from Quebec, became the first person from the Americas to successfully undertake a solo crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat, a human adventure that goes beyond a simple feat of athleticism.

Paquette decided to change her life completely following a deeply moving conversation with a gravely ill child. She took up ocean rowing to explore her passion for the seas and fulfill her desire to become a mariner. Today she tells her story to audiences across Canada.

"We are continuing our theme of the past few years of closing off the Seminar with a different type of speaker, one that is a little less topic-heavy and more something that appeals broadly to all delegates," says Michael Dyck, program co-chair for 2019 BPS.

"It's a chance for delegates to close out the 2019 Seminar program with some refreshments, personal networking and an enjoyable presentation. We also thought it was appropriate to have a speaker who spent a lot of time staring off into the horizon and not really knowing what was coming up. That's kind of what the pig industry is like."

Media welcome at Banff Pork Seminar 2019

Date posted: December 3, 2018

Media interviews

Top speakers on major issues and the latest opportunities in the pork industry. That's one reason why each year the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) attracts a contingent of media from across Canada and interest around the world.

"Media attendance at an event such as BPS also says a lot about the pork industry's confidence, pride and openness," says BPS chair, Amy Cronin. "An underlying message to each year's seminar theme is how the industry is building trust with consumers and the general public.

"The fact that media are encouraged to attend and report the results of these presentations, that we encourage them to track down speakers for additional details, adds to the value of the information for all audiences," she says.

"This media activity is shared across North America and around the world. That sharing of knowledge and perspective is one of the legacies of BPS and one of the reasons it continues to be a leading event known globally."

Media are asked to contact the BPS office to register to attend BPS 2019. More details are on the BPS website www.banffpork.ca.

Part of the BPS communications effort is a Special Report including the Inside BPS blog, feature articles and photos. These articles are available for media support and industry use. The link to the report is available at the Seminar website www.banffpork.ca.

Delegates can also help tell the story of pork by following BPS on social media. They can follow the Seminar @BanffPork on Twitter. And they can tweet frequently and enthusiastically during and around the time of the 2019 Seminar using the hashtag #banffpork.

The secrets to sow longevity

Date posted: December 3, 2018

It's a topic that never fails to draw big interest in Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) Breakout Sessions.

"Sow longevity or lifetime productivity is a topic we have addressed in past seminars but always draws interest," says Michael Dyck, program co-chair for BPS 2019. "One reason is there is always new research and recent developments.

"There has been a fair bit of research money going into this in Canada and U.S., a lot stimulated by National Pork Board. We have three strong speakers with new thinking in the area."

"We have a local speaker, Jenny Patterson from the University of Alberta, who has worked with systems across Canada and the U.S. looking at gilt management," says Dyck. "Gilt management is the start of the breeding herd so if you don't do gilt management appropriately you aren't going to have lifetime productivity and longevity in the sow herd."

Related to that Derald Holtkamp from Iowa State University has been looking at the economic gains from keeping your sows in the herd for a certain amount of time. There is a point of diminishing return with keeping sows in the herd and Holtkamp looks at "The economics of sow longevity" in the herd.

Finally Jerry Torrison from the Veterinary College at the University of Minnesota looks at causes and consequences of sow mortality.

"Torrison brings an interesting perspective because he looks at what you can learn from sows that are doing poorly within your system," says Dyck. "He's been quoted as saying that to a pathologist a sow that dies is a bit of a gift, an opportunity to learn, because a pathologist can open her up and let her tell you things."

Sow longevity topics are featured in BPS Breakout Session 6.

Derald Holtkamp

Jerry Torrison

Jennifer Patterson

Two routes to better feed efficiency

Date posted: November 27, 2018

There is no doubt of the value of improved feed efficiency, the question is how best to achieve it.

Breakout Session 3 at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2019 looks at two speakers talking two routes to improved feed efficiency and carcass quality: Genetics and nutrition.

"On one hand we know there are things we can do on the genetic side to enhance feed efficiency and carcass quality," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS 2019 program co-chair. "We understand we have genetic changes over time. That may be about a 1% improvement, so it takes a longer time to make progress. Whereas on nutrition side you can make a very rapid improvement and a very quick change, but it may not be as cost effective as a genetic change.

"We have a local speaker and also a speaker from Kansas State University who are leaders in this research area."

Graham Plastow of the University of Alberta will talk on "Genomic advances to increase feed efficiency and carcass quality of grow finish pigs." And Joel DeRouchey from Kansas State will talk on the nutritional side, "Feeding programs to optimize feed efficiency and carcass quality of grow finish pigs."

Graham Plastow

Joel DeRouchey

The search for true meat quality

Date posted: November 27, 2018

Meat quality can be an elusive goal in the pork industry. Breakout Session 1 at the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) has two knowledgeable speakers on the subject. And in what is a first for the Seminar, this session features a live meat cutting demonstration to show exactly how goals can be achieved.

"There is always a focus on carcass quality in the pork industry," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program chair for BPS 2019. "The challenge is you can have the same carcass quality with quite a range of actual meat quality when it comes to meat tenderness and cooking quality.

"So we thought we would get two of the hotshots in this growing and important area of research. Michael Young of Canadian Pork International will talk on 'Canadian pork quality with confidence'. He will do actual cutouts to show different ways that cuts can be done for different markets or for different product goals.

"Brian Sullivan of the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement Inc. looks at things from the rapidly evolving genetic perspective. 'Pork, more than just a good source of protein' is the title of his presentation."

Michael Young

Brian Sullivan

Harvesting the promise of big data and new technology

Date posted: November 20, 2018

Some of the most popular sessions at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) over recent years has been presentations on new technology.

Breakout Session 7 in 2019 looks at harvesting the promise of big data and new technology options and thinking to accomplish that.

"We collect a lot of data but it is becoming quite a science to take data and turn it into information that you can use in production systems," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for BPS 2019. "We have been saying for a long time that if you don't measure it you can't manage it. We are at the point where we are measuring so much that it is becoming a real challenge to manage it.

"This is a big theme in agriculture on both the livestock and crop production sides. Any way of dealing with information that takes you to where you are potentially automating some of the decision making has powerful potential."

Three speakers tackle this subject area. Tom Stein of Maximum Systems has been involved with many systems over the years and has seen the evolution of the data collection as well as systems to capture its value. He will speak on "Smart systems in pig production."

Then Bram Visser of Hendrix Genetics looks at the use on the swine genetic side with his presentation "Automated intelligence for better swine breeding."

The third speaker, Ricardo Segundo Cochran, from the OPP Group in Uruguay, looks at the "Farm center data integration system" on a large farm in that country.

Registration details for Breakout Session 7 are on the BPS website www.banffpork.ca.

Tom Stein

Bram Visser

Ricardo Segundo Cochran

Hear the latest on animal welfare in transport at BPS 2019

Date posted: November 20, 2018

Few topics have been more on the mind of livestock producers than animal welfare. It has been touched on over the past several years at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) and it continues to be top of mind for a lot of producers and the industry.

"In past we have dealt with issues such as sow housing, pain mitigation, different castration techniques, and those discussions have been well received," says Michael Dyck, BPS program co-chair for 2019. "This year we are looking at transport and in particular some of the considerations with regards to code, some of the expectations on transport."

Breakout Session 2 features two speakers who are immersed in this area and are familiar with the latest developments.

"Stephane Beaudoin of GestBEAU Inc. works out of Quebec and consults extensively with the pork industry on animal welfare," says Dyck. "He will be talking about the Canadian transport system and specifically an update on the Canadian Livestock Transport Program.

"We also have Niels-Peder Nielsen, an international expert from Denmark to round things out and get an international perspective. Europe faces a bit more pressure in these areas and as a result tends to be a bit more progressive and maybe ahead of the curve relative to North America. Learning where they are going may be a hint of where we are headed in the future in our markets."

Stephane Beaudoin

Niels-Peder Nielsen

Finding the road to the robust pig

Date posted: November 14, 2018

There may not be anything more critical in pork production than finding the road to producing robust pigs. Breakout Session 5 at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2019 tackles that subject with three capable speakers coming from varying perspectives.

"It is not only important that you count numbers, pigs per sow per year, but also that you have a certain robustness in those piglets that they actually reach weaning weight," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for BPS 2019 . "So we thought having a session on what is happening with pigs in early life would be of interest."

Batch farrowing is one option to have more pigs within a group as opposed to a weekly farrowing schedule. Blaine Tully of Swine Health Professionals talks on "Batch farrowing - tools to bullet proof the sow farm."

Sylven Blouin of Jyga Technologies looks at the economics of batch farrowing conversions. Their company is focused on housing of all aspects, from nursery through into group housing.

"Nutrition has a key role as well," says Zijlstra. "Marcio Goncalves of Jefo Nutrition talks on nutrition that affects pig robustness as well as pig survivability."

Blaine Tully

Sylven Blouin

Marcio Goncalves

Harnessing the power of people

Date posted: November 14, 2018

One recurring issue in boardrooms and coffee shops around the pig industry is how to attract, motivate and keep quality people.

Breakout Session 4 at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2019 has some innovators in this important area.

"One program theme we get really good feedback on is dealing with human resources, maintaining peoplepower in the system," says Michael Dyck, 2019 program co-chair.

"This year Karen Kerns of Kerns and Associates looks at 'Business development and management,' how you can better incorporate your human resources efforts into your business policy to make that an aspect of how you run your business.

"And Andrea De Groot of Ontario Pork Industry Council talks on high and low skill worker programs in Canada and how best to engage them, employ them and keep them in your system.

"We expect the people topic will be an important one again at this year's seminar," says Dyck.

Karen Kerns

Andrea De Groot

BPS 2019 registrations and hotel rooms moving briskly

Date posted: November 8, 2018

A quick check in with Banff Pork Seminar 2019 coordinator Ashley Steeple finds that registrations are on pace with last year's sellout level. And hotel rooms are moving briskly.

"Early bird deadline for registration is Nov. 15, 2018 and hotel room deadline is Dec. 1, 2018," says Steeple. "At last report there were still a number of rooms available but they are going quickly."

The program is looking good. "We had several exciting applications for the FX Aherne award and a solid batch of research abstract entries for the poster session."

Steeple says work has started on the 2019 conference app and delegates should watch or details in the coming weeks.

Don't miss day 1 BPS: The future of protein, disruptive technologies

Date posted: November 8, 2018

Ellen Goddard

Not long ago when people planned their meals the choices for protein would be meats like pork, chicken, beef or fish.

All that's changed, says Michael Dyck, program co-chair for Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2019. "Now we're having Mexican or Italian or something similar. Now we're thinking new plant proteins, or even futuristically, like manufactured meat in a petri dish."

"The whole attitude behind protein is changing," says Dyck, "and that's why we have brought in one of the best people in the field to speak. Professor David Hughes who speaks on "Global Food Industry Developments – Implications for the Pork Industry in Canada" in plenary session 1, the first day of BPS has become a sought after researcher and speaker.

Based in Britain, he has extensive experience in Canada and internationally. Well versed and knowledgeable, he is also not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom.

Then Ellen Goddard of the University of Alberta tackles "Disruptive technologies, public perceptions and implications for pork."

"Disruptive technologies are ones that will change the industry," says Dyck. "For example, Code of practice could introduce a disruptive technology that people have to start using. Or if gene editing becomes an accepted practice it could really change the way we select animals. It could be disruptive in that it could be good for some aspects of the industry but bad for others.

"If meat in a petri dish becomes something the consumer is interested in, it may drive the industry in one direction. But that may not be the most viable way to produce protein.

"Goddard looks at a lot of consumer perspectives, where consumers get their information, what are the perspectives they have and how do those filter back through the grocer and the processor to the producer," says Dyck. "She looks at everyone involved in the supply chain. How one aspect of consumer perspectives can cause adjustments at every level of the supply chain."

"These are two speakers who could change the way you look at the industry and the opportunity," says Dyck.

Free pre-BPS presentation on two critical topics

Date posted: October 29, 2018

Here's another reason to attend the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar.

Delegates can sign up for a free pre-conference presentation on two pressing topics in the swine industry today, African Swine Fever (ASF) and antibiotic use.

Hosted by Swine Innovation Porc, the meeting takes place at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 8 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In the first session Egan Brockhoff of Prairie Swine Health talks on "ASF: Three things you need to know." And Greg Douglas, Maple Leaf Foods looks at what Canada can do to mitigate ASF risks.

The second half of the afternoon Christian Klopfenstein, Centre de développement du porc du Québec leads off with a talk on "Antibiotic use in Canada: How are we doing?" And under the topic of how other commodities are dealing with antibiotics, Karen Kirkwood of Alberta Chicken Producers tells the chicken industry's story.

The event is free but registration is required. Simply send an email to . Program details are available here.

The people who directed Banff Pork Seminar 2019

Date posted: October 29, 2018

Service is a powerful part of any industry and on any day in the pork industry many individuals step forward to help build and manage the fundamentals that make the industry stronger. The people listed below stepped forward and volunteered to be on the organizing committee for Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2019.

It is a strong and diversified group made up of capable players from all aspects of the industry, government and academia. The committee also draws from people across Canada and is set up with a process of continual renewal, ensuring fresh thinking each year.

Here are the people on the 2019 BPS Advisory Committee.

  • Chair: Amy Cronin, Cronin Farms, Bluevale, Ont.
  • Program co-chairs: Michael Dyck and Ruurd Zijlstra, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Conference coordinator: Ashley Steeple, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Javier Bahamon, Alberta Pork, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Stéphane Beaudoin, GestBEAu Inc., St-Germain-de-Grantham, Que.
  • Dawn Friesen, Fast Genetics, Spiritwood, Sask.
  • Daniel Godbout, PIC Health Assurance, St-Augustin, Que.
  • Darcy Pauls, Cargill, Niverville, Man.
  • Bryan Possberg, Polar Pork Farms, Loreburn, Sask.
  • Bill Rempel, Steve's Livestock Transport, Red Deer, Alta.
  • Leigh Rosengren, Rosengren Epidemiology Consulting, Midale, Sask.
  • Greg Simpson, Hypor, Burgessville, Ont.
  • Casey Smit, Olymel, Humboldt, Sask.
  • Ben Willing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Jason Wood, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Edmonton, Alta.

The advisory committee is an open process. Anyone interested in serving on the committee or learning more about its role is invited to contact a current member.

2019 Banff Pork Seminar sponsor support keeps delegate costs down

Date posted: October 24, 2018

Solid sponsor support for the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) again has direct benefits for all delegates.

"Each year we want to remind ourselves just how sponsor support dramatically lowers the cost for each delegate attending this seminar," says BPS program co-chair Ruurd Zijlstra. "We could not afford to have a conference of this scale without this financial support of sponsors. Our figures show it would cost almost double what we charge."

There's another benefit says BPS co-chair, says Michael Dyck. "Those sponsors bring teams of delegates to the whole seminar environment. That brings a real boost of energy to the networking opportunity for all delegates.

"Here are the 2019 sponsors listed in order of sponsorship category starting with the largest," says Dyck. "On behalf of all delegates to BPS, we thank them all for their support."

Sustaining Sponsors

  • Alberta Pork
  • Fast Genetics
  • Hypor
  • Maximus Systems
  • PIC
  • Swine Innovation Porc
  • Topigs Norsvin Canada

Premier Plus Sponsors

  • AFNS, University of Alberta
  • DuPont
  • Maple Leaf Foods
  • Merck Animal Health
  • New Standard West Equipment
  • Olymel

Premier Sponsors

  • Agribution Canada Ltd.
  • Canadian Pork Council
  • Elanco Animal Health
  • Masterfeeds

Select Sponsors

  • Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition
  • Alberta Animal Nutrition Lecture
  • APC, Inc.
  • Automated Production
  • Barkman Concrete Ltd.
  • Big Dutchman Inc.
  • Biovet Inc. and Jupiter Agrobiotech
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health
  • Canada Pork International
  • Canadian Hog Journal
  • Canola Council of Canada
  • Cargill Animal Nutrition
  • Champion Alstoe Animal Health
  • ChemoMetec A/S
  • Diamond V
  • DNA Genetics
  • DSM Nutritional Products
  • Dutrion North America
  • EastGen
  • Gestal by Jyga Technologies
  • h@ms Marketing Services
  • Hipra Animal Health
  • Hylife Ltd.
  • Jarvis Canada
  • Jefo Nutrition
  • Karyotekk Inc.
  • Kemin Canada
  • KWS Cereals, USA, LLC
  • Manitoba Pork
  • Ontario Pork
  • Penner Farm Services
  • Pharmgate Animal Health
  • Phibro Animal Health Corporations
  • Prairie Hog Country
  • Schippers Canada Ltd.
  • Sec Repro/Bock Industries
  • Sunterra Farms Ltd.
  • Walbern Agri-Systems.(1991) Ltd.
  • Zoetis

Supporting Sponsors

  • Alberta Barley
  • Alltech
  • AQINAC/Le Porc Show
  • Canadian Bio-Systems Inc.
  • Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement
  • Cooperative Program in Agricultural Marketing and Business, University of Alberta
  • Farm Credit Canada
  • Gallant Custom Laboratories Inc.
  • GestBEAu Inc.
  • Steve's Livestock Transport
  • University of Minnesota
  • Warman Veterinary Services

News Release: Banff Pork Seminar 2019 tackles "Change, Challenge, Opportunity"

Date posted: October 12, 2018

Canada's major pork industry event is off and running as the first registrations roll in for the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS). It runs Jan. 8 to 10, 2019 at the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alta.

The theme "Change, Challenge, Opportunity" is fitting given that the industry is coming off a volatile year in pork markets, says BPS program co-chair Dr. Michael Dyck of the University of Alberta. "The North American pork industry is a resilient group. When they face challenge they look to the future, think change and opportunity.

"We're confident the 2019 program will deliver fresh thinking for delegates," he says. "The Banff Seminar has built its brand with the best speakers on key topics of the day."

"We strive for a blend of big picture and practical," adds his 2019 program co-chair, Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra. "Plenary sessions deliver the latest on the big issues and breakout sessions focus on thinking and ideas that can often be taken home and implemented."

Tuesday evening's welcome reception begins the always enjoyable social side of the big seminar in the beautiful, world renowned mountain town. Wednesday's morning plenary session tackles "The future of protein," with international market researcher Professor David Hughes. He is followed by Dr. Ellen Goddard of the University of Alberta who will speak on "Disruptive technologies, meat quality and consumer perceptions."

Thursday's morning plenary sees Joe Kerns of Kerns and Associates tackle "Tariffs, trade and trepidation: The implication on the pork sector now and into the future."

A broad selection of breakout sessions over two days deal with topics that most directly affect production. Topics include meat quality, animal welfare and transport, feed efficiency, human resources, managing the robust pig, sow longevity, and big data and technology. Wednesday also features a special innovators' breakout session.

Full program details and registration information is available at the Seminar website www.banffpork.ca. Follow on Twitter @banffpork. Connect on Facebook /BanffPork.

Student science abstract deadlines Oct. 31, 2018

Date posted: October 12, 2018

2018 winners Danilo Sotto, University of Saskatchewan, (right) and Jill Hugman, University of Alberta with presenter Dr. Ben Willing of U of A, center.

Each year, the R. O. Ball Young Scientist Award presented at the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) seems to attract broad interest among young scientists.

Named after Dr. Ron Ball, a long-time researcher and former BPS program director, the award recognizes graduate and undergraduate students who provide a best overall combination of good and relevant science, a well-written abstract and an excellent presentation.

Deadline for abstracts for the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar student competition is October 31, 2018.

2019 Banff Pork Seminar Aherne Prize entry deadline is Oct. 31, 2018

Date posted: October 12, 2018

Two winners shared the F. X. Aherne Prize at the 2018 Banff Pork Conference. Left to right Lyle and Maaike Campbell, Birnam Pork, Arkona, Ont., Dr. Ben Willing, University of Alberta and Scott Hyshka, Mountain Vista / Sunterra Farms, Drumheller, Alta.

One of the highlights of the annual Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) is the announcement of the F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production. Entry deadline for the upcoming 2019 BPS Aherne Prize is Oct. 31, 2018.

Dr. Ben Willing of the University of Alberta, chair of the selection committee, says each year the number and quality of entries for the Aherne Prize is a clear example of the thirst for innovation among the many players involved with pork production today.

The Prize recognizes individuals who have developed either original solutions to pork production challenges or creative uses for known technology. Innovations big or small, complex or simple can be entered. In fact both types have been winners in the past.

Willing says the contest is open to owners, production managers, herdspeople or consultants in the North American pork industry, or anyone who has developed an innovation relevant to the North American pork production industry.

"Contest details are on the Seminar website www.banffpork.ca," says Willing. "All segments of the pork industry qualify. That includes areas such as feeding, breeding, ventilation, disease control and prevention, transportation, manure management, animal handling, facility or enterprise management, and pork quality and safety."

Besides the recognition of having innovations featured at this world-renowned pork industry conference the prize is a valuable one, says Willing. It includes free 2019 BPS conference registration, accommodation at the spectacular Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and travel for the Banff Pork Seminar Jan. 8 to 10, 2019 for up to two innovators. The value of that registration and travel is approximately $2,000 each.

The award is named after a proficient industry innovator, the late Dr. Frank Aherne, a professor of swine nutrition and production at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a major force for science-based progress in the western Canadian pork industry.

Welcome to Banff Pork Seminar 2019

Date posted: October 12, 2018

Communications is a key in today's business world. The annual Inside BPS Special Meeting Report 2019 you are reading is done for the benefit of the industry. Produced by Meristem editors in partnership with the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) organizing committee, it is designed to take you "inside" BPS to help you keep on top of those developments.

If the past is any indication, it is a good bet delegates will travel from across North America and around the world to attend. They will be searching for knowledge from speakers at the leading edge of a rapidly evolving modern, global pork industry. Those delegates create an unparalleled networking opportunity for all. There will also be some fun to be had in this world renowned resort community and celebrated hotel.

The information in this Special Report – including blog items and news features – is designed to be available for use by media and industry, with credit to the source. These are a few key points.

The BPS hub. The best place to get everything you need to know about the 2019 Seminar, Jan. 8 to 10 is the Seminar website www.banffpork.ca. You can sign up for e-news advisories from Seminar coordinator, Ashley Steeple.

Inside BPS blog. These blog items will provide key information and perspective prior to, during and immediately following the 2019 seminar. Blog items are designed for use by media, industry communications specialists, producers and others in the industry. Simply provide a credit line to the Inside BPS Special Report and a live link to the Meristem website www.meristem.com.

News releases and news features. While these articles are primarily designed for media and industry communications specialists, they are available for anyone to use and are available for reprint. News releases can be used without requirement to provide credit. News features should be credited to the Banff Pork Seminar 2019 and linked to www.meristem.com.

Photos. Selected speaker photos are available for use. Credit Banff Pork Seminar.

Media assistance. As in past years, media assistance is available. You can find contact information and other key details under the "Media Assistance" link in the top right column of this Special Report web page.

Social media. Information and links to stories on BPS will also be featured on social media. Watch for regular updates under the #BanffPork hashtag. Follow the Banff Pork Seminar at Twitter handle @BanffPork and on the BPS Facebook Page. Follow Meristem at Twitter handle @NewStreamTweets.

As always, Banff Pork Seminar organizers hope your time in Banff is a truly outstanding one. Welcome to Banff Pork Seminar 2019.