Inside BPS Blog

Summit of Cascade Mountain in Town of Banff: 2022 Banff Pork Seminar Special Meeting Report

News from the Meristem editors from inside the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar.

Historic 2022 Banff Pork Seminar wraps up

Date posted: January 14, 2021

Ruurd Zijlstra

Ruurd Zijlstra

Despite a host of challenges for organizers and delegates in a pandemic year, the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) wrapped up an historic conference with a confident message for the future.

The seminar featured another year of strong presentations in its first ever hybrid in-person and online event, along with a celebration of the 50th anniversary for the event BPS program co-chair Ruurd Zijlstra says. He thanked delegates both the more than 200 attending in-person and the more than 400 who attended online for their support as he sent them home with the clear message that he and organizers feel that the event is well positioned for the future.

BPS coordinator Ashley Steeple adds a quick wrap-up of things for all delegates to note as they head out the door in-person or virtually.

Presentations will be available soon. All in-person delegates and all those registered for the online event will be able to access 2022 presentations online soon. All delegates will be sent a reminder email when presentations are available for revisiting. They will be accessible by using the conference app.

Tell us how we did. Every year, delegates can help organizers make Banff Pork Seminar the best it can be by completing the conference evaluations. Accessible in the event app under survey section.

Tell your network. As in past years, the blog items and feature articles on the Inside BPS Special Report are available free of charge for media and industry use. That report link is available from the home page of

Follow BPS on social media. Use the hashtag #banffpork and #BPS50 to help share the stories this year's speakers have shared.

Come back next year. Mark your calendar to be in Banff January 10 to 12, 2023.

What is your African Swine Fever plan?

Date posted: January 14, 2021

Christa Arsenault

Christa Arsenault

Christa Arsenault, the National African Swine Fever (ASF) Coordinator with Animal Health Canada, ended her presentation to the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar with some simple questions for producers: "What would you do today if ASF was detected in Canada and you couldn't move your pigs? Do you know who was on your operation in the last 30 days and where are your records? What is your plan?"

These pointed questions are being asked at the highest level as well, by the ASF Executive Management Board (EMB). The EMB is made up of a broad range of industry stakeholders including representatives from:

  • Federal agencies such as Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Provincial and territorial governments
  • Environmental and wildlife agencies
  • Animal Health Canada (formerly National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council)
  • National groups like Canadian Pork Council and Canadian Meat Council

The ASF EMB is tasked to develop and action the Pan Canadian Action Plan to prevent entry of the disease and to mitigate the impacts of ASF in Canada.

Arsenault stressed the seriousness of the situation should ASF be discovered not just in Canada, but in North America. "The discovery of ASF in the Dominican Republic and then Haiti in 2021 is significant because it is the first time the disease has been recorded in the Americas in 40 years.

"Due to the interdependence of the pork sectors in Canada and the United States, a discovery in either country will have unprecedented impacts on the entire value chain including an immediate shut down of all exports of live animals and meat products," she says.

Prepped for action

Four pillars for action have been developed by the ASF EMB to address their dual mandates of preventing the disease from coming into Canada and ensuring there is a plan in place if the worst happens. Under these pillars are a number of working groups (WG), and sub working groups, that are focusing on critical areas:

  • Enhanced bio-security prevention: Bio-security WG; Canadian invasive wild pig WG
  • Preparedness planning: Federal, Provincial, Territorial, Industry (FPTI) Exercise WG; Depopulation and disposal WG; Movement and control WG
  • Ensuring business continuity: Hog supply WG; Zoning industry-government WG; FPT Business continuity WG; Compartmentalization WG
  • Coordinated risk communication: Integrates and communicates information across each of the four pillars

Vincent ter Beek

The working groups are making progress in a number of areas and Arsenault provided an update on the highlights.

"One of the needs identified early on was the critical role of coordination between the pillars, across the value chain as well as FPT collaboration," she says. This has been an essential strategy in understanding the status of planning provincially as well identifying gaps where support might be needed."

An ASF coordination team was developed. The team members were integrated into each of the working groups and provided regular status updates to the EMB and other pillars which ensures progress, and allows for direction from the EMB.

"This has been a successful strategy in that it allows the working groups to share the progress and accomplishments they are making while also ensuring the EMB can see the full picture and know what to expect next," says Arsenault.

The third strategy that is proving useful for everyone is a detailed organizational chart. There are so many moving parts, that being able to share the ASF EMB org chart has been a critical piece in helping people to understand who is doing what and the depth of involvement of all stakeholders in the success of this plan.

"It was important to make this org chart flexible; there are a lot of people involved so it needs to be updated regularly. We do encourage people to check the live link to see the most up-to-date information."

The national, provincial, territorial and industry groups are all working hard on their ASF plans and the working groups listed above are also deep into planning, training, testing and collaboration. Some of the strategies developed by the ASF EMB have been used for managing the COVID pandemic and Arsenault expressed a hope that the work being done on ASF could be used for other animal health issues in the future.

Arsenault finished her presentation with a call to action for producers.

"The biggest thing you can do as a producer on your farm is to be ready with your own emergency response plan and include ASF in that plan," she says.

A recording of the presentation will be available to all BPS delegates and includes a detailed look at the progress and successes of each of the pillars and associated working groups.

BPS 2022 presentations coming soon

Date posted: January 14, 2021

It is almost like you were there.

The 2022 Banff Pork Seminar has wrapped up but a reminder that registered delegates for the Seminar online and in-person will be able to access presentations on demand soon after the conference says Seminar coordinator Ashley Steeple.

They will be available at the BPS app link.

Breakout #1
Breakout #5
Breakout #7
Breakout #8

Views from an agricultural immigrant

Date posted: January 14, 2021

Vincent ter Beek

Vincent ter Beek

He's a young man who came into the pig world as an outsider, what he calls an "immigrant," and has used his natural curiosity, journalism skills and entrepreneurial spirit to build a large global following on stories related to the pig industry.

It's called Pig Progress and an energetic Vincent ter Beek closed off the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar with an interesting personal story and a fresh and heartening look at industry issues.

His first connection with agriculture was as a young journalist when ter Beek was sent by his publication to cover a technical conference on animal health. He soon realized he was swimming in technical data and over his head in complexity. He listened to presentation after presentation, wondering how he was going to write something useful for his editor.

Then it happened. One presenter was so clear, so understandable that ter Beek was able to write a strong article from it. That formed the basis of his approach for journalism and ultimately Pig Progress. That was to be prepared to use curiosity and lack of knowledge to look at the pig world in a fresh way and to be prepared to wade through a lot of material to find the story that presents itself.

Today he and his group at Pig Progress operate in many communications formats on many platforms. Their energetic and productive company looks at the pork industry globally and they have never lost the natural story telling interest that comes from looking at that world from the point of view of a young journalist and an industry immigrant, fascinated by stories waiting to be told.

More than anything he is never afraid to question, never held back by industry expectations. And that presenter who did the nice job with his material in that meeting years ago is one of the writers on ter Beek's service.

Vincent ter Beek

One key message that ter Beek shared with BPS delegates that is driving his interest and Pig Progress is the gap between urban and farmers.

"Who is responsible?" he asked delegates. "Urban or farmers, or both?"

A love of history has shaped the conclusion ter Beek has come to on that front. He shared his examples from global travels with pork operations of all kinds, showing why pork production has evolved and what that means for how society thinks about it.

There are clearly good reasons for why pork production has taken steps in production techniques, he says, but if we want to look to the future while most pig farmers may believe they are doing an honest job, it will ultimately be the urban population that shapes the pork industry of the future.

He used examples of the sound production rationale for things such as production crates, castration or tail docking. Then he used examples of how that information may be shared in an educational sense on Instagram.

"Do you think that would generate a reaction?" he asked delegates, showing a photo of pig castration and sows stalls.

Of course it would, was the answer. The industry has to be transparent but realistic.

Vincent ter Beek

In 2050 there will be 9.2 billion people on the planet, says ter Beek. Where will they live? In cities. Pork will likely be a luxury product, but in the end this approach will be one that gives the industry the license to operate.

So ter Beek's send home message was that the pig industry should not forget its own complexity. Always ask yourself if better solutions are available: No castration, no tail docking, "iron" free pig houses.

"A richer world will demand more from its pig production," he says. "The world will become more Instagramable. And the industry should always imagine there may be a young journalist in the room."

Pig Progress information is available at and on social media. BPS 2022 delegates can review ter Beek's presentation on the BPS app.

Former Greenpeace warrior seeks to build new thinking

Date posted: January 13, 2021

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore doesn't step on many speaking stages without most in his audience having an idea of what he will be talking about. He is a high exposure speaker.

That doesn't mean that audience won't be thinking new thoughts when they leave. The former Greenpeace eco-warrior who made a name for himself and that fledgling organization with high profile attacks on high profile targets, can still get people talking. He has a new goal today. As in independent consultant he tells the environmental story from the opposite approach, usually tackling his former cohorts head on, seeking, he says, to build consensus on challenging topics.

Moore told the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) the story of how Greenpeace rose to international prominence under his leadership. But then he explained why he left the organization.

The organization had drifted away from the basic tenants of 'green' meaning environmental, and "peace" meaning in peaceful ways, he says. They drifted into the idea that people are destroying the human race, that we are the only bad species.

It was a philosophy that Moore says he could not be affiliated with, so he left the organization. Today he makes his living exposing what he says are the flawed arguments those activists put forward and the often questionable or fraudulent approaches used to reach audiences.

Much of the information they put forward has more to do with raising funds than solving problems.

A well-known author, Moore has written books about his beliefs. He talks to his audience about the "unified theory of scare stories." That's his belief that every single scare story is about something that cannot be seen or is so remote that it is impossible for people to see for themselves and come to their own conclusions.

Moore walked through a catalogue of environmental myths and shared his thoughts on why people should question each.

Climate change, polar bears, the sea of plastic garbage.

GMOs caught the interest of the agricultural audience.

"What is it that is harmful? he asked the audience. "It doesn't have a name or a chemical formula.

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

"There is nothing if it doesn't have a name," he says.

Perhaps one of the best examples of that irrational thinking is one of Moore's pet projects, Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice that would provide vitamin A to many needy populations around the world. It is repeatedly targeted by Greenpeace and as result many children die needlessly.

Finally, Moore touched on nuclear energy, shamed by Greenpeace but which he says is a natural option to replace fossil fuels especially in buildings and areas such as shipping.

If the conversation among delegates in hallways at the Banff Springs Hotel and online was any indication, Moore reached his goal of making people think.

Complicated subjects often take more study and BPS delegates will have the opportunity to review the recording of Moore's presentation and decide for themselves.

Pork industry economist sets strong tone in predictions for the pork industry

Date posted: January 13, 2021

Brett Stuart

Brett Stuart

Brett Stuart has been at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) before. When you get invited back as a speaker, it usually means people got value out of what was said.

Stuart did not sit on the fence when he spoke to BPS 2022. The U.S. based economist with Global AgriTrends, a firm popular on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, told delegates his job description is pretty simple: Keep ahead of global markets. Not always easy, he acknowledged and there hasn't been a year like last year in recent memory.

BPS delegates would be well advised to screen Stuart's presentation if they missed it the first time around. If you need encouraging here are a few highlights edited for brevity.

  • We have completed the world's largest macro-economic experiment. Governments and economies around the world have poured enormous amounts of money into markets. That has fueled a global commodity super-cycle.
  • This will last a lot longer than people think. Stuart predicts a soft landing. And he says the party doesn't end until the money runs out. There is a huge amount of money sitting on the sideline. More than 65 percent of this money is in the accounts of the wealthy. This is a huge impact on consumers. Inflation is a tax on the poor.
  • Who can afford to pay for corn? Hog producers are least equipped. Be careful.
  • The FED has set a much more aggressive tone but interest rate increases will be small and not likely to be a big factor. Inflation will look like it's over but we will just live with the new pricing. It took 18 percent interest to break the last major inflation cycle.
  • Inflation will run hot. Could turn to stagflation, where economy slows.
  • China is a key global market driver. African Swine Fever is a major challenge. China will be a major corn importer going forward. In 2021 pork prices in China fell 70 percent. That slow bleed will continue so the roller coaster could take off again. The Chinese mega farm model may not work. African Swine Fever is not the only disease.
  • African Swine Fever is not just a European problem. What if it hits the U.S.? Export markets would close instantly and the U.S. has 25 percent more pork than they need. This is a very dire problem. And it's worse for Canada. Hope it doesn't happen.

Thoughts on global risk

Several points.

Labor issue and risks. There could be more strikes ahead as labor unions leverage their position. Packers that a year ago were at $14 an hour are now at $21 and $24. Politicians want a high minimum wage which impacts their stance on foreign workers. Get used to it. Labor problems will not be fixed this year.

California Prop 12. This is an animal welfare requirement put on all suppliers. Could see California have less pork than it needs and rest of the country more than it needs. Not sure they will enforce or when.

Fertilizer frenzy. Global shortage is driving fertilizer to record prices. Half of the world crop production progress exists because of fertilizer. It allows us to feed people. The fertilizer issue is not over so figure out how to work with the situation.

Greenhouse gas emissions. The new war on emissions is on methane, so livestock, petroleum and landfills will be targets. Good news is this is not as scary as we may have thought for livestock production. New research and information is emerging that will show the livestock footprint is much lower than originally thought.

Russian troops on Ukraine border. Ukraine is a big corn and wheat exporter. Not sure where this ends but it will likely not end well.

China Pork Imports and China Pig Prices

Ten year pork outlook. If past correlation of pork and meat production with GDP output then the world will need record supplies to handle growth. Ask yourself as a pork producer how do I grow when demand is chasing supply? The challenge will be market access in a world hungry for meat protein in the next 10 years.

Plant-based and lab meats. Growth will not continue at the current pace for plant based meats. Watch lab based meats. Technology tends to improve over time. So, and get more economical for example, so could be day when lab based meats are blended with regular.

BPS 2022 student science winners announced

Date posted: January 13, 2021

Alison Jeffery (Rght) Ben Willing awards Chair, center and  Carley Camire (left).

Alison Jeffery (Rght) Ben Willing awards Chair, center and Carley Camire (left).

Two young scientists at the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) Jan. 11 to 13, in Banff, Alta. have won the R. O. Ball Young Scientist Award.

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

"The award is an important recognition of individual success for students but it also celebrates the progress in the quality of research done and the ability of students to present that research in a public setting," says Ben Willing, University of Alberta researcher and awards chair for BPS 2022.

First prize was awarded to Alison Jeffery, University of Montreal. Her paper is "Immunological evaluation of an autogenous vaccine used in sows to protect piglets against Streptococcus suis infections."

Second prize went to Carley Camire, University of Saskatchewan for the paper "The effect of limiting dietary non-essential amino acids on lysine requirement for protein deposition in growing pigs."

First place winner receives a $500 cheque and plaque and second place receives a $250 cheque.

Special acknowledgement at BPS 2022 for industry icon George Foxcroft

Date posted: January 13, 2021

Eduardo Beltranena

Eduardo Beltranena

Each year Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) awards one speaker the George Foxcroft Lectureship.

The award has special meaning in 2022. Foxcroft, a University of Alberta professor and industry icon, played a large role in the development of BPS. He passed away only weeks prior to this year's seminar.

"The Foxcroft Lectureship in Swine Production has always had a special meaning," says Ben Willing of the University of Alberta, awards committee chair for BPS 2022 who introduced this year's winner. "It allows the Banff Pork Seminar in conjunction with the University of Alberta to bring in speakers who are conducting high profile research applicable to swine production and that will improve production efficiency.

"The person chosen each year is selected based on the quality of their research and their contributions to the swine industry."

The 2022 recipient is Eduardo Beltranena of the University of Alberta. His presentation was entitled "Reducing feed costs in grow-finish: Alternate feedstuffs and production strategies."

It was a special moment for Beltranena as he started his talk. He was George Foxcroft's first graduate student at the University of Alberta. And one of his research cohorts on the featured research project was Miranda Smit of the Prairie Swine Centre. She was Foxcroft's last graduate student.

The two BPS 2022 program co-chairs, Michael Dyck and Ruurd Zijlstra, both worked closely with Foxcroft and enjoyed a strong friendship. Zijlstra spoke to the BPS audience acknowledging their colleague.

"Banff Pork Seminar was supposed to be a celebration this year," says Zijlstra, "50 some years of existence. Many people contributed to the success of this Seminar through these years but three individuals made exceptional contributions. Each is recognized by having their name associated with awards handed out this morning. They include Dr. Frank Aherne who started BPS, Dr. Ron Ball who led BPS for a decade; and Dr. George Foxcroft who led BPS for at least 10 years after Frank.

Ruurd Zijlstra honours George Foxcroft

Ruurd Zijlstra honours George Foxcroft

"Dr. George Foxcroft unfortunately passed away last month. George came to Alberta in 1988 and has made remarkable contributions to research, graduate training and teaching, and especially technology transfer during his career at the University of Alberta. He retired in 2012, and became Professor Emeritus, and continued to attend BPS.

"I thank Andrew Heck Editor of the Canadian Hog Journal for placing a nice obituary that you may read on the website of Alberta Pork.

"The main interest at the end of Dr. Foxcroft's career was to turn research into practice. That is also the main focus of the lecture that is named after him at BPS. Another one of George's accomplishments were the graduate students who he trained, and who are now shining in their own careers.

"I was looking forward to meet George this week. May he rest in peace."

How to access Banff Pork Seminar 2022 proceedings

Date posted: January 13, 2021

At each Banff Pork Seminar (BPS), proceedings are produced in the form of the publication "Advances in Pork Production."

These are part of the Seminar registration package. With the 50th anniversary hybrid event seminar coordinator Ashley Steeple has been asked the plan for proceedings this year. The answer is yes. "Proceedings for 2022 will be available free of charge for registered delegates to download from the BPS app and virtual platform," says Steeple. "But you must be registered to access them."

Limited quantities of proceedings from previous years are available and can be requested by contacting the BPS office.

Maple Leaf Agri-Farms team wins 2022 BPS Aherne Prize

Date posted: January 13, 2021

Jewel White

Jewel White

It is always a popular aspect of the annual Banff Pork Seminar (BPS). The F. X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production is like a great race where everyone can enter, and indeed everyone in the pork industry is a potential player.

"Winners of the Aherne Prize over the years have ranged from barn staff to company management to consultants serving the industry," says Ben Willing, awards committee chair for the Seminar. "Entries come from across North America and inventions have ranged from the very simple to very complex and sophisticated."

"They all have one equal factor though," he says. "All directly improve pork production."

The 2022 Aherne Prize winners check all the boxes with their invention entry, says Willing who presented the award from the meeting floor in Banff. Veterinarian Jewel White and her teammates, Ronald Nayre and Jim Kehler of Maple Leaf Agri-Farms in Landmark, Man. have developed a tool that significantly improves animal care and worker safety.

They've called it "The Backspacer Device." And in her own words, Jewel White describes the process that led to the development and the resulting invention itself.

At Maple Leaf, we always seek ways to enhance animal care for our pigs and safety for our people. Our recent 100 percent conversion to open sow housing reflects this commitment. But when it comes to animal care, we are always looking for our "next best thing." We saw an opportunity for a "win-win" to improve both animal care AND people safety at the same time.

As a herd veterinarian (White is Senior Manager, Animal Health and Welfare) for Maple Leaf Agri-Farms' sow herds, I collect many blood samples, and I'm familiar with the process and its challenges and risks. The most common method is for a barn worker to use a snout snare to restrain the gilt or sow in a temporary stall for the procedure and pull the pig forward while the team member leans into the stall. Pulling the pig forward with a snare stresses both the pig and the team member. And if the snare comes loose, the pig can suddenly impact the team member and cause injury.

I thought that there must be a device to make blood collection safer and less stressful, so I analyzed the process. I realized that if we could move the pig toward the forward to the end of the stall during the process so it couldn't back up, the team member could have better access to draw blood. This would create less stress for the pig and greater people safety. We needed our solution to be portable, comfortable for the pig and easy to wash and disinfect.

I discussed my idea with our veterinary assistant, Ronald Nayre and our maintenance technician, Jim Kehler. Together the three of us discussed and developed the Maple Leaf Agri-Farms (MLAF) Backspacer Device which met all of our criteria for success.

We conceptualized a smooth spacer that could be inserted behind a pig – almost like moving a car seat forward so the driver is well positioned and secure. We created a light, aluminum device that could be inserted into the stall during the process and moved to the next stall when the process is complete. Our Backspacer Device has the following components:

  • 1 ¼" aluminum square tubing
  • 1" aluminum square tubing
  • 5/16 stainless steel rod
  • ¾ x 3/16 stainless flat bar
  • 1/8 puck board

The Backspacer we created is a big help in improving our people's safety. It reduces the pulling that is needed on the snout snare, reduces the need to lean into the stall and decreases the risk that the snare could come loose and allow the pig to impact the team member.

Through our innovation, we reduced pig stress, improved overall care and protected our people. Given the success we've experienced with our multiplication herds. We now have created identical devices for all our Maple Leaf Agri-Farms sow barns.

And we are happy to share this concept with the larger pork industry to improve the care that all pig producers can provide to their pigs.

Protection, prosperity, peace of mind: Why Canada Pork fits today's world

Date posted: January 12, 2021

Trevor Sears

Trevor Sears

The 50th anniversary Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) kicked off with a look at the big picture for the Canadian pork sector. Trevor Sears, President and CEO of Canada Pork, provided context and perspective with his presentation on the foundations, emerging issues and opportunities facing Canadian pork producers today.

Sears began with a deep dive on the pork industry's roots in Canada – going back to approximately the early 1600's when the first pigs were shipped over from Europe to Nova Scotia. Understanding all of the factors that influenced the growth and evolution of the pork industry over 400 years also provides valuable context when reviewing the current situation.

The emerging issues that promise to come up again and again at BPS this week include:

The looming threat of African Swine Fever. Critical on the preparedness front. Canada Pork is working on the plan and trade agreements to mitigate risk

Global market access challenges. Canada is very heavily dependent on export markets and therefore vulnerable to political and economic drivers globally

Global supply chain and labour issues. This is an ongoing issue throughout agriculture

COVID. Building trust at home and around the world in Canadian pork supply and quality

With challenges comes opportunity says Sears and Canada Pork is working hard to capitalize on them. Building a strong brand for Canadian pork continues to be a priority. While the results of this can be seen globally – for example, Costco Japan has gone exclusively to chilled Canadian pork – Canada Pork is also seeing progress in promoting the product at home.

"This is important because if there were ever a disease outbreak, strong domestic demand will help to mitigate the risk of possible lost export markets," says Sears.

In order to respond to a changing consumer landscape, Canada Pork is involved in generic promotion and research that covers a wide range of areas such as consumer education around cooking and preparation, as well as nutrition and health research.

Finally there continues to be increasing market access opportunities and this is a primary focus for Sears and the association. As economies grow and evolve, more people around the world can afford meat and poultry in their daily diets. "We are always working on new market access agreements, especially in Asia and South America," he says.

However competition from other protein sources (beef and poultry) and other countries remains fierce. "I think it is really crucial that we continue efforts to maintain and grow demand for Canadian pork products."

The majority of Canadian pork is still sold to export markets so a significant disruption in trade would trigger a major economic impact on the industry. Canada Pork is doing essential work to mitigate that risk and be prepared as possible.

Finally Sears wrapped up on a positive note saying that "our high Canadian standards provide protection, prosperity and peace of mind. These standards offer global pork buyers peace of mind knowing they are sourcing some of the highest quality pork in the world from one of the most secure supply chains anywhere."

Check out the special 50th anniversary BPS video

Date posted: January 12, 2021

50th anniversary BPS video

One of the nice parts of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) in that beautiful mountain town was a chance to look back and the people and ideas that got this Seminar started and shaped 50 years of progress in the event and the industry.

At the 2022 Seminar the organizing committee put together a video looking back over that history. It was a thoughtful look at the original vision for the seminar told through the voices of key people who either knew those first involved personally or were themselves instrumental in building the Seminar over half a century.

Now, anyone interested in watching this video can check out at the BPS Vimeo link here. "So many people have worked over the years to make this event and the industry successful," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS program co-chair for 2022. "This was our way of acknowledging and remembering those people who had the original vision for this seminar that laid the foundation for its success."

"Networking has always been a real benefit for delegates attending our seminars over the years," adds program co-chair Michael Dyck. "Real friendships and valuable connections are formed here each year. We believe as delegates watch this video they will think back to the people they have come to know who have shaped their own experience."

Celebrating "50 Years of Knowledge and Sharing

Date posted: January 12, 2021

Dan Bussieres

Dan Bussieres

Dan Bussieres will no doubt remember his opening remarks for the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) for years to come. The Quebec-based pork industry leader has headed a Seminar advisory committee bringing the 50th anniversary celebration for this leading event to its opening. And he has the chance to do that against an unforgettable backdrop of wild changes in a pandemic year, some occurring right up until the event opening.

Here is an edited version of his opening remarks.

I'm very pleased to welcome all participants to this year's hybrid Banff Pork Seminar. First and foremost, to all the people that are here today with us in Banff for the first main pig industry event in Canada with live attendees since March 2020. Also, thanks for those joining us on our virtual platform. We wish you could have been able to make it to Banff this year.

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Banff Pork Seminar. We didn't have the chance to celebrate this milestone due to the COVID pandemic. This year, the advisory committee decided to add some special features to the program in order to celebrate this great achievement for the Canadian swine industry. You will a chance to review the 50 years of the Banff Pork Seminar through a video that was made in recognition for some of the key people that had a large influence on the success of this annual event.

This is why we selected 50 Years of Knowledge and Sharing for the for this year's theme. This pretty much summarizes in a few keywords what BPS is all about. Gaining knowledge and sharing it with all our industries. The program this year has been put together in a way that we can have more knowledge and idea sharing, trying also to get more connected with the people that work day to day in our swine operation.

We also wanted to address some of the themes that are of high interest in our evolving industry. Our seminar wants to reach out to the entire spectrum of our industry, including farmers, students, agri-business professionals, and academia across the industry.

As we go into another year of COVID, we as an industry keep facing many challenges. Although pork prices had been, for the most part, pretty good in 2021 for our North American industry, we have seen a significant increase in feed cost due to factors such as grain and protein price, but also due to the large jump in amino acids, vitamins and other feed additive prices.

The lingering effect of COVID on labor and container cost has put a lot of pressure on our supply chain and prices for overseas product. We still expect some turmoil an uncertainty as we get into 2022. With the lower pig prices that we have seen over the last two to three months, it is even more important to look at your production and improve efficiency.

This year's Seminar would not happen without the dedication and support of many throughout our industry. The advisory group offers a heartfelt thank-you to our generous sponsors, without whom this conference would not be possible.

We would be amiss if we didn't acknowledge the dedication and commitment of Ashley Steeple, the BPS coordinator and planner extraordinaire, and Ruurd Zijlstra and Michael Dyck, program directors. Finally, thanks to the Advisory Committee, for continuing to bring forward new ideas that have resulted in an incredible agenda again for this year seminar.

To all participants, I wish you a warm welcome and I hope you will appreciate our program for this year's 2022 Banff Pork Seminar.

BPS 2022: Hybrid meeting is new approach for new times

Date posted: January 11, 2021

Ashley Steeple

Ashley Steeple

It is a quiet start to what is normally a large affair. The 2022 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) got underway with a smaller than usual crowd from past years. But there is also a quiet energy to the group of delegates attending in-person in the beautiful mountain town of Banff.

"There's lots of fresh snow and beautiful weather outside, and lots of warmth and energy in the group that our desk team began registering late Tuesday afternoon," says Ashley Steeple, BPS coordinator. "This seminar has always brought people together but there is no doubt this year is a special one. People are clearly enjoying the chance to visit in-person.

"We have set up our meeting following the strict COVID-19 rules put in place by the Banff Springs Hotel and according to government standards. Delegates are clear that they have an obligation to follow these rules and we appreciate their understanding and support."

Steeple and the organizing committee have worked to make 2022 special for another reason. They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Seminar. A special 50th tribute video that will be presented Wednesday is just one example. But the experience of this special grand hotel is another.

"We are always pleased to work with the Banff Springs hotel staff to make the entire meeting experience meets the high expectations of delegates. A major reason we signed on here with the Banff Springs is that the meeting rooms and social areas are arranged in a very convenient format.

"When you walk in this hotel, it feels like a special place and our meeting efforts try to make sure the whole experience lives up to that. With all the challenges this past year, the hotel has worked very hard to have our event be able take place and we thank them for that."

As she does each year, Steeple reminds all delegates that the organizing committee looks forward to feedback throughout the seminar about any aspect of the event.

"Seminar evaluations are particularly important so we would really appreciate it if you would fill them out," she says.

Banff Pork Seminar 2022 Update

Date posted: January 6, 2021

Fairmont Banff Springs

With many changes in the world due to COVID, the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022 organizers wanted to give delegates an update heading into next week's event.

As of January 6, 2022 the Banff Pork Seminar will continue to be held as a hybrid event January 11-13, 2022. The Fairmont Banff Springs is ready to welcome delegates back to Banff for the in-person portion of the event and have taken extra safety measure to help ensure we can still gather in-person and help keep delegates safe. Delegates also have the option to participate virtually and watch the morning plenary sessions via live-stream and recordings of the breakout sessions on-demand.

We know these are challenging times for everyone with the COVID-19 pandemic and things have changed rapidly in the last few weeks. So please continue to monitor our website, Inside BPS blog and social media @BanffPork for updates.

For more information and resources on COVID-19 safety measures, travel, restrictions etc. please check the links below.

Login information for the virtual platform will be sent out shortly to all registered delegates. For those attending the event in-person you will also be receiving an email with more details on check-in procedures and times as well as safety measures and current restrictions in Alberta.

Join us on Twitter @BanffPork: Use #banffpork and #BPS50

Date posted: January 6, 2021

Annemarie Pedersen (left), speaks with Barb Glen, Western Producer journalist.

The Banff Pork Seminar 2022 is unique in a number of ways – especially because it marks 50 years of bringing together producers, innovators, researchers and many other stakeholders in the Canadian and global hog industry.

This year also marks the first time the conference will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendance; an incredible opportunity to broaden the reach of the conference beyond those who can travel to the Rockies.

"This year is exciting because it will allow so many people to attend who might not have been able to join in-person. We have reached a large number of people on Twitter @BanffPork who are interested in the topics and innovations in the past few years and now those people can attend virtually," says Annemarie Pedersen, social media lead on the communications team for the conference.

Organizers hope to see an increase in social media conversations about the sessions, key learnings and take-aways from all conference attendees, whether in-person or virtually. By using the conference hashtag #BanffPork and this year's special tag #BPS50 on Twitter, anyone interested in the hog industry can join the conversation and benefit from the discussions.

"I encourage everyone to share their thoughts, photos, screen shots and comments as the conference progresses and use the hashtags so we can follow along and share your posts with the BPS community on Twitter," says Pedersen.

Banff Pork Seminar runs January 11 to 13th, 2022. Find all the details on the website at and in the Inside BPS Special Report.

Special thanks to three BPS partners

Date posted: January 6, 2021

To be successful over as many years as Banff Pork Seminar has requires commitment of many key players.

"As we look back on the large number of individuals and organizations that have made it possible to reach our 50 year celebration, Banff Pork Seminar would like to specifically thank our three partners who provide the top level of support," says BPS coordinator Ashley Steeple.

"Those partners are the University of Alberta, Alberta Pork and the Government of Alberta. Together, they have been an anchor of this event and this support has helped provide the confidence that has encouraged the broader industry to step forward continue to support us each year.

"That not only benefits each and every delegate, but ultimately the industry as a whole. That support affects everything from the food and entertainment options to the selection of the leading speakers our organizing committee is able to consider.

"On behalf of all delegates over our 50 plus years in business, we want to officially thank these partners."

The people who helped frame up Banff Pork Seminar 2022

Date posted: January 6, 2021

Banff pork Seminar

Setting up the hybrid program for the 50 year celebration of Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) and doing it during the pandemic has been an interesting challenge.

The success of the current seminar is a testament to the vision of the founders of the Seminar to bring together all sectors of the industry. That's why the advisory committee that plays an important role in BPS planning is made up of people from across the industry and across Canada. They bring valuable experience and perspective from industry, government and academia.

The BPS 2022 Advisory Committee is as follows:

  • Chair: Dan Bussières, Groupe Cérès Inc., Levis, Que
  • Program co-chairs: Michael Dyck and Ruurd Zijlstra, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Conference coordinator: Ashley Steeple, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Eric Aubin, DNA Genetics, St-Lazare, Que.
  • Javier Bahamon, Alberta Pork, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Jason Brandt, Steve's Livestock Transport, Red Deer, Alta.
  • Melissa Da Costa, Baseline Pork, Harley, Ont.
  • Jen Demare, Swine Heath Professionals, Steinbach, Man.
  • Cliff Ehr, Olymel, Humboldt, Sask.
  • Heather Ferguson, Cargill Animal Nutrition, Puslinch, Ont.
  • Jennifer Hannesson, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Michel Larivière, PIC, St. Malo, Man.
  • Frank Novak, Sunhaven Farms, Sherwood Park, Alta.
  • Rick Prejet, Porcherie Lac du Onze, Notre Dame de Lourdes, Man.
  • Ben Willing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Cordell Young, Precision Veterinary Services, Lethbridge, Alta.

BPS appreciates the input and vision of these committee members. BPS organizers would remind everyone that becoming member of the Advisory Committee is an open process. Anyone interested in serving on it or learning more about its role is invited to contact a current member.

Last minute tips for 2022 BPS delegates

Date posted: December 24, 2021

Ashley Steeple
Ashley Steeple

It has been a fast changing year and as delegates get ready to participate in the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS), seminar coordinator Ashley Steeple has done up her annual quick last-minute checklist for those attending.

It's even more pertinent advice this year given the current world situation around COVID 19 and the fact this is a hybrid, online and in-person event. Here's her list.

Check the COVID information on the BPS website. For those attending in-person, just a reminder you must show your QR code as proof of vaccine and have valid accompanying photo identification in order to enter the event space. No exceptions.

In addition there are new Alberta government restrictions for social events in Banff. Bar and restaurant service ends at 11 p.m. and venues close at 12:30 a.m. As well, travelers should check the latest travel information links for Canada and Alberta.

A list of COVID safety measures is posted on the BPS website. Check it before attending in-person.

Virtual registration is available until Jan. 13, 2022. If you are not yet registered for the Seminar there is still time to participate virtually. Simply register online.

Note also that in-person attendance has been capped because of new Alberta government standards for large events. And unlike in many past years there will be absolutely no walk-in registration allowed. If you have questions contact BPS.

Download the BPS App. It's the simplest way for in-person delegates to track what is happening when and where.

Test drive the virtual event log-in. You will be able to test drive the log-in a few days prior to the event. Always good idea to test that out.

If you have questions during the virtual event. Conference organizers will be set up to do their best to answer questions that may arise during the virtual event. Email if you need help.

Session recordings. As in past years the breakout sessions are concurrent. Plenary and breakout sessions will be livestreamed Wednesday and Thursday and will be available to watch on-demand for all registered delegates only following the Seminar.

Proceedings available. Proceedings for all registered delegates will be available for electronic download on the BPS App/virtual platform.

Find the latest news at the Inside BPS Special Report. Get news, photos and the Inside BPS blog in this Special Meeting Report from the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar, presented by communications partner Meristem. Find the special report link on the BPS website home page or directly on the home page. Inside BPS Report articles are available with credit for reprint for individual, industry or media use.

Follow BPS on Twitter. Latest news will also be at @BanffPork. Help tell the pork story by using #Banffpork on all Tweets from the seminar.

Seminar evaluations. These are critically important to planning future BPS programs so please fill these out following the seminar. For 2022, the survey can be completed in the event platform.

Sustaining Sponsor PIC welcomes delegates to BPS 2022

Date posted: December 1, 2021


Our goal is simple: We strive to make our customers the most successful pig producers in the world by investing in making a better pig and making that pig better every day.

At PIC, we improve the performance of our pigs by combining advanced science with a practical understanding of the biology of the pig and the needs of producers. We select traits that are commercially relevant for producers and fulfill market demands. And we focus on uncovering or developing technologies we believe will help accelerate the rate of genetic gain.

We continuously invest in all levers of genetic improvement to create more value. We invest in population size, seek differentiated germplasm, and invest in better data capture and algorithms to improve the accuracy of our selection. And we continuously adjust supply with market demands, to be able to make the best products available to our customers.

Our "Never Stop Improving" philosophy means a continuous effort to listen carefully to our customers and drive innovation to create ever-increasing value for pig and pork producers.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any members of the PIC team as we reconvene as an industry at the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar!

Thanks to 2022 BPS Sponsors

Thanks to 2022 BPS Sponsors

Date posted: December 1, 2021

Those are two direct and large benefits sponsors bring to each Banff Pork Seminar say 2022 program co-chairs, Michael Dyck and Ruurd Zijlstra: Payment and people.

The many sponsors that provide funding support means the delegate payment for registration is about half of the actual cost of putting on the event. The second benefit is the people in the room, the broad group of industry people who bring knowledge, energy and personal connection to the networking experience that has become a huge part of Banff Pork Seminar week.

The 2022 Seminar sponsors are listed below in order of sponsorship category starting with the highest, say Dyck and Zijlstra. All are thanked heartily for their contribution.

Select Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Topigs Norsvin returns as BPS Sustaining Sponsor

Date posted: December 1, 2021

Topigs Norsvin

Topigs Norsvin has the ambition to be the world's fastest and best when it comes to translating market needs into desired products through genetic solutions for integrated chains. This requires us to be far more than a supplier of superior genetics. We also deliver the support needed to unlock the full genetic potential we provide through technical service, know-how, and the co-creation of new innovations. This enables pork producers, in particular, to generate added value that is sustainable, also in their value chains.

While efficiency is obviously one of the basic pillars of a pork-producing company, it's by no means the only one. Pork producers also need to secure their license to produce with governments and society at large. Furthermore, they must meet both market and consumer demands. At Topigs Norsvin, we know it's a challenge to consistently deliver on all these demands. Nevertheless, it's an exciting challenge that we're more than happy to take on. With our continued focus on innovation in the broadest sense, we genuinely feel that we are part of the long-term solution.

Alberta Pork: BPS Sustaining Sponsor represents producers

Date posted: November 22, 2021

Alberta Pork

Alberta Pork is excited to sponsor the Banff Pork Seminar once again.

We are a non-profit organization representing the province's more than 900 registered hog producers before government, industry partners, media, the general public and other interest groups.

Our producers' tireless efforts have been the driving force behind the pork industry for more than half a century. While the industry continues to face many challenges, Alberta's farmers are stepping up.

We would also like to recognize the many processors, researchers, veterinarians, transporters, retailers and everyone who supports the entire pork value chain. Because of you, Albertans, Canadians and consumers around the world are privileged to enjoy the highest-quality, best-tasting pork.

We hope you enjoy the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar!

BPS 2022: Celebrating 50 years of knowledge and sharing

Date posted: November 17, 2021

When young scientists step forward to present their findings at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) Breakout Session No. 4 they will be part of a 50 year tradition of celebrating innovation. Along with them in this session, the winners of the Aherne Prize in Innovative Pork Production will be presenters.

"Our theme in 2022 is '50 years of knowledge and sharing'," says BPS coordinator, Ashley Steeple. "Those words cover everything Banff Pork Seminar is about including research and education as well networking between producers, industry and collaborators. And acknowledges we are celebrating 50 years of BPS at this year's event."

Ruurd Zijlstra and Michael Dyck, BPS program co-chairs think back to 50 years ago when their former colleague professor, Frank Aherne started this seminar. That initial vision has had a lasting impact.

"Aherne had a different vision for this event," says Zijlstra. "There were conferences for academics and perhaps conferences for producers, but Frank had a unique vision to be one of the first conferences in Western Canada to bring pork producers, academics from the university and government contacts together.

"That networking and education role where people spend time together and learn from one another continues to today."

Another key impact BPS has had is giving profile to innovation by new leaders and thus provide a platform for graduate students.

"There are other conferences where you see graduate students in the room but this is one where they are consistently on the program and they are awarded for that," says Dyck. "They compete for best oral and scientific presentation, an honor now called the R. O. Ball Award. All entrants are winners and receive profile through strong poster presentations available for viewing and analysis by all delegates."

"While scientists drive new idea we did not want to forget how tremendously creative people in the industry are themselves," adds Zijlstra. "They look at hands on solutions and we recognize those ideas from the barn with the Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production."

A good indicator of the continued interest in the initial vision of BPS is the work of the program Advisory Committee each year which draws on experience industry volunteers across Canada to find the most relevant topics for each seminar.

"I think again in 2022, the program shows the value of that approach and the efforts of the committee in accomplishing that," says Zijlstra.

Special BPS 50th anniversary clothing available

Date posted: November 17, 2021

Here's a great way to look good while celebrating the 50th anniversary of Banff Pork Seminar (BPS).

Order some of the special clothing from the "BPS store" link on the seminar website. There are short and long-sleeved T-shirts, hoodies and headwear available.

"Items must be pre-ordered and the store will be open until Dec. 2, 2021," says BPS coordinator Ashley Steeple. "Purchased items can be picked up at the conference, Jan. 11 to 13, 2022, or they can be shipped to the purchaser directly. In that case, shipping fees will apply."

All products will be delivered approximately two to three weeks after the store closes, adds Steeple.

BPS Breakout 6: Getting more from sows

Date posted: November 17, 2021

They are economic engines for the pork industry and optimizing sow production using the latest research is another important part of good herd management.

"We've got three strong speakers at Banff Pork Seminar 2022 who have their collective fingers on the pulse of the latest research," says Ruurd Zijlstra, co-program chair for the Seminar.

Jean-Philippe Martineau is with Groupe Cérès Inc. & Nutrition Athéna Inc. an important consulting group operating in Eastern Canada and Manitoba. He'll look at "Optimizing sow reproduction using the latest sow research."

Then Erin Holmes of Cargill, a North American leader in livestock nutrition, looks at nutrition as it relates to sow productivity.

Finally, Kilby Willenburg of Fast Genetics uses his background to talk "The impact of reproduction technologies on breeding herd efficiency."

Full program details are at

Capturing the potential in people: BPS Breakout Session 3

Date posted: November 17, 2021

Two powerful presentations are focused on how to get the most from people at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022. One focuses on staff, one on managing stress.

"When you hire staff, the last thing you want to have happening when you hire good people is to have them leave," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS co-program co-chair. "One thing you need that helps keeping them around is to have a good professional development program so they can increase their capabilities, support the goals of the organization and have some personal growth."

Dennis Robles, leadoff speaker in Breakout Session 3 brings strong credentials in pork industry human resources and a broad world of experience in training from his experience with the innovative group Swine Health Professionals Ltd. His presentation title is "Love the one you're wit....staff training and development."

And dynamic agriculture and food advocate, motivational speaker and Saskatchewan farmer Lesley Kelly talks "When stress is more than a season."

"If there is any group of people who know about stress, it is farmers," says Zijlstra. "Lesley has developed a reputation as a strong motivational speaker and innovative industry player and we look forward to her thoughts on handling stress related to COVID on top all of those things like changing prices that affect farmers."

Full program details at

Protecting productivity and profit with animal welfare at BPS Breakout 7

Date posted: November 17, 2021

Animal welfare.

Two very powerful words in modern livestock production. In Breakout Session 7 at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022, delegates will have a chance to hear the latest on developments on those two words affecting their industry.

Leadoff speakers on BPS Breakout Session 7 on animal welfare is a panel discussion on crate-free gestation featuring three large-scale producers who have made the switch. They are Neil Booth, Maple Leaf Farms; Daryl Possberg, Polar Park Farms; and Marvin Magwood of Hylife.

"Group housing is another way of saying crate-free gestation management," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS program co-chair. "While it has been around for a number of years there are still a lot of producers who need to make the switch.

"We selected our speakers because they are all leaders in this area, some for half a decade or more, all are good speakers who know the industry in and out."

To close out the session, Yolande Seddon, University of Saskatchewan looks at the "Code of practice five year review: Implications for future code revisions." She draws on her experience as a leader in a research group on animal welfare and providing consultation to the pork industry and retailers.

"Making an investment for animal welfare reasons in an industry that is already under tremendous pressure is an important discussion," says Zijlstra. "We expect this conversation will be about where we are as a Canadian industry by implementing the previous code of practice. Part of that code was to have all sows in group housing by a certain date. We'll find out where we at are on that and what are the implications."

Benchmarking, latest piglet care and rethinking wean age at BPS Breakout 5

Date posted: November 17, 2021

Ideas and the latest research you can use in management and production. That's a regular topic for Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) delegates and Breakout Session 5 at the 2022 Seminar will not disappoint.

Greg Bilbrey of the well-known genetics company PIC looks at "Benchmarking production trends and mortality", how managers can compare facilities within a group or within different groups across the pork industry.

Then veterinarian Jessica Law asks what managers want to know: "Are your piglets ready to fly the coop?" She will cover her experience in piglet management with the company she represents, Prairie Livestock Veterinarians to look at ways to get as many healthy piglets leaving the nursey.

Finally, Brady McNeil of DNA Genetics looks at the impact of wean age on reproduction and grow finish performance. In Canada and across North America, many still wean at 21 days of age whereas weaning at four weeks of age is the standard in most of Europe.

"All three of these speakers have important knowledge and research in management and production to share," says Ruurd Zijlstra, co-program chair for BPS 2022.

"Banff Pork Seminar has built a reputation around having excellent speakers with important take home messages for managers, production leaders, people working in the barn or people who own production facilities."

More information on the BPS website

Next generation health management at BPS 2022

Date posted: November 17, 2021

Three veterinarians with broad experience in livestock health bring a look into leading edge techniques to Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) Breakout Session 8.

"We've selected three speakers with significantly different experience for this session," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS program co-chair.

"The first topic is next generation sequencing to look at diseases, moving beyond old style culturing analysis to determine what bacteria you have on your farm. In the culturing approach you actually have to grow the bacteria to see what you have. With all the modern technology that can help with diagnosis of specific bacteria on the farm, next generation sequencing can come into play."

Speaker Maria Clavijo divides her time between research at Iowa State University and the well-known genetics company PIC. She will look at "Applications of next generation sequencing to inform disease management decisions for livestock."

Karine Talbot of HyLife has the catchy title of "Poop, blood, spit and others: The art of sampling pigs" for her discussion of proper sampling techniques.

Finally Cordell Young, Precision Veterinary Services has the topic of "Vaccine program and on-farm applications: How to get the most out of it."

"By putting vaccines on the program hopefully we will get a lively discussion," says Zijlstra. "On the farm side we use them routinely for many different viruses and it will be interesting to learn what is new. That discussion takes places against the backdrop of current human vaccine experiences.

"All good speakers with fresh perspective."

Media have helped drive 50 years of BPS success

Date posted: November 17, 2021

Media interviews

Media interviews

Each year a contingent of media from across Canada attend Banff Pork Seminar (BPS). As the seminar celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is a good opportunity to recognize how important those media are to keeping the pork producers and industry informed and to tell the story of pork production in a modern world.

"As in past years media are asked to register to attend BPS 2022," says BPS coordinator Ashley Steeple. "Registration ahead of the Seminar will be required to view the virtual presentations during and after the Seminar.

"As BPS looks ahead to another strong event planned for 2022, we can look back at the media who have helped drive Seminar success over those years, says Steeple. "Transparency and trust are important aspects of the pork industry today and the work media does in attending and analyzing presentations access is one simple way that is accomplished."

Direct contacts for assistance are available under the "Media Assistance" button on the Special Report page. The Inside BPS Special Report available by link from the BPS website includes a blog, feature articles and photos. These are available for media support and industry use. Media can also follow BPS @BanffPork on Twitter.

Fresh ideas on feed and feeding at BPS Breakout Session 2

Date posted: November 9, 2021

Not many things have dominated the pork industry lately like rising feed cost have. So there is little doubt that Breakout Session 2 at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022 will be a popular one.

"We have two excellent speakers who will focus on a couple of ways to tackle the feed cost issue," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for BPS 2022.

"One way is precision nutrition, to make sure that important nutrients don't get wasted. What can you do to reduce feed costs by changing your nutrition program?"

Brent Frederick of Provimi part of Cargill which is an important global feed supplier, will draw on his experience to look at precision feeding.

Then Eduardo Beltranena, a local research scientist at the University of Alberta who has done a lot of research on feed costs in pigs and poultry will look at changing feed profile with alternative ingredients and also diet composition. For example evaluating the ration energy profile and opportunities to reduce feed cost per kilogram of feed while maintaining performance.

Full program details at

New perspectives on the growing challenge of water

Date posted: November 9, 2021

Martine Giguère

Martine Giguère

Water is a topic of growing importance across the world and it will become a more important one for pork production. Breakout Session 1 at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022 gets inside that issue with two strong speakers with innovative perspectives.

"In not too distant future water will become a much more important input in terms of cost of production," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS co-program chair. "We will have changes in our supply. For example, how our glaciers are melting and thereby affect river water flow and changing rain patterns, which are important water sources for producers."

Leadoff speaker Susan Watkins is a water expert and extension specialist at the University of Arkansas with innovative ideas on managing water quality.

Martin Giguere of Agro-Bio Contrôle in Quebec will offer her first-hand knowledge of working with and providing solutions to industry on water issues.

"Both will have good take home messages on this important topic," says Zijlstra.

BPS Wrap-up plenary features "Views from an agricultural immigrant"

Date posted: November 9, 2021

Vincent ter Beek

Vincent ter Beek

Journalist and Editor of Pig Progress, Vincent ter Beek will send Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022 delegates home with a fresh perspective on their industry.

"Vincent did not start out his life or career in the agricultural industry, he kind of rolled into it," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for BPS 2022. "So he learned the business as he went along and he has never been shy about bringing that perspective to our industry."

BPS has always had a wrap-up speaker that provides serious perspective but also a lighter side, says Zijlstra.

"Vincent has a unique position in many ways but we expect the biggest factor is his view as a self-described 'agricultural immigrant', something that gives him a different look from both inside and outside our industry.

"We believe that fresh thinking will be a perfect end for our hybrid 2022 seminar."

BPS Wednesday tackles the looming pressure of environment on agriculture

Date posted: November 9, 2021

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

"Agriculture and the environment".

The presentation topic for the first plenary speaker on Thursday morning at Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022 seems benign, but it is anything but that. And a founder of and former activist with Greenpeace, speaker Patrick Moore is anything but an ordinary player on the environmental scene globally.

"There is no doubt that carbon emissions are a hot topic everywhere," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for BPS 2022. "Huge in Europe, but also here in North America because of what people are experiencing in changes in climate themselves. Flash flooding on routine basis. Drought and heat.

"We in agriculture need to be prepared to bite off a chunk of the carbon emissions and it is clear that the environmental issues include broader aspects of the environmental footprint, things like nitrogen and phosphorus.

"Patrick Moore will look at the myths and misinformation that distort the environmental debate and will challenge us to use science to find pathways to progress amidst the pressure," says Zijlstra. "Definitely a speaker worth hearing."

How Canada can prepare for African Swine Fever

Date posted: November 9, 2021

Christa Arsenault

Christa Arsenault

It is a disease threat that hangs over the global pork industry and the planning and preparations to prevent it are critical to the sustainability of the North American industry.

Christa Arsenault of Canada's National Farmers Animal Health and Welfare Council brings frontline experience with African Swine Fever (ASF) as a plenary speaker at Thursday's Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022.

"Christa is a key player on the ASF coordination team working on connecting the dots of ASF planning and preparedness at the national, provincial and industry level," says Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for BPS 2022. "She will bring a fresh perspective to the excellent presentations on this topic in past years."

ASF continues to threaten the industry globally, says Zijlstra. It has shown up on the Caribbean Islands and continues to show up in Europe and Asia.

Canada must be prepared and Christa Arsenault will provide a value inside look at that planning in her presentation "Successful strategies used to prepare for African Swine Fever in Canada."

BPS plenary speakers take the pulse of the pork industry

Date posted: November 9, 2021

Brett Stuart

Brett Stuart

It's always one of the most popular set of speakers at the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS). They are the sessions that take the pulse of the pork industry, looking at markets and industry intelligence.

"With massive volatility in pork markets and input costs, global economics is always a topic of interest," says Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS program co-chair "This is such an important topic it is covered almost every year. People want a look at the inside workings of the industry from those at the heart of the action and this year we have two really good speakers."

Veteran North American industry analyst and a popular speaker in years past at BPS, Brett Stuart of Global AgriTrends, uses his daily experience with worldwide connections to look at "Markets and trade" in Wednesday's opening BPS plenary.

Stuart will no doubt look at not only the pork side of the market but also supply side, particularly feed where prices are massively higher than they were a year ago, says Zijlstra.

Then Trevor Sears President of Canada Pork looks at "Positioning Canadian pork in a post COVID-19 World."

"If anyone has their finger on the pulse of change it is Canada Pork," says Zijlstra, "and there is a lot to look at.

Trevor Sears

Trevor Sears

"There are all sorts of changes happening in the global supply chain. What will be needed to get export products from A to B? What will be different about moving pork into markets like the Asian rim, or even trucking to the U.S.?

"Can we keep our markets by marketing Canadian pork as a superior product? Will it give us an advantage? What about areas besides pork such as trucking, container or plane capacity.

"Canada Pork is built to be aware of issues and to keep production focused on the export markets," says Zijlstra. "Domestic consumption is important, but we cannot survive just on domestic consumption. We are an exporting country when it comes to pork, and success depends on not just volume but price.

"That's why we need to keep having such topics on the program. And why pork market and marketing speakers at BPS 2022 will be worth hearing."

Key deadlines and information for registering for BPS 2022

Date posted: November 5, 2021

There are good reasons to register early for Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) 2022. The best one is to get in on the substantial savings of an early registration deadline rate.

In-person registration. Early registration deadline is Nov. 15, 2021. Regular registration rates will apply Nov. 16 to Dec. 20. Late registration rates will apply after Dec 20, 2021. Group discounts are offered until Dec 20.

Virtual registration. Early registration runs up to Dec. 20, 2021. Regular fees apply for registration Dec. 21 to Jan. 13, 2022. There is free registration for undergraduates and graduate students attending a Canadian institution. Such students attending an international institution outside Canada receive a 50 percent discount for virtual registration.

"There is solid early interest in attending in-person and we hope to see a strong turnout," says BPS program co-chair Ruurd Zijlstra.

"We want to remind delegates to check the COVID information outlined on the BPS website. Delegate safety is a key concern for us, so we will be following the rules established by the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta, host venue and the host organization.

"While those rules will mean some changes from past events, we believe that if we follow the rules, delegates can still have the benefits and enjoyment of in-person attendance and celebrate our 50th anniversary."

As an extra benefit, in person delegates also qualify for viewing the virtual presentations when they return home.

Banff Pork Seminar's popular Aherne Prize entry deadline Oct. 31, 2021

Date posted: October 13, 2021

2021 winner: Safety bracelet

2021 winner: Safety bracelet

It is a celebration of grassroots innovation in the pork industry that has become one of the most popular in North America. Entry deadline for the 2022 FX Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production is Oct. 31, 2021.

"The prize is awarded at the annual Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) and the Seminar's reputation for excellence is one of several reasons for the Prize's popularity," says researcher Ben Willing of the University of Alberta, who chairs the awards selection committee.

Another reason for its popularity is the range of entry sophistication and the diversity of those who submit them, he adds. Innovations can be big or small, simple or complex. The contest is open to owners, production managers, herdspeople, consultants, or anyone who has developed an innovation relevant to the North American pork industry.

Entries can apply to any segment of the industry including feeding, breeding, ventilation, disease control and prevention, transportation, manure management, animal handling, facility and enterprise management and pork quality and food safety.

"The selection committee is always impressed by the creativity and innovation of participants," says Willing. "We are pleased to offer a prize of significance. The winner receives complimentary registration to the 2022 Seminar, accommodation at the world-renowned Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and travel assistance. That's a value of approximately $2,000.

"If past experience is any indication, winners appreciate the chance to spotlight their innovation and be recognized as an innovator by their peers, the pork industry and the Seminar attendees," he says. "It is something the award namesake, Frank Aherne, a long-time industry research leader, would appreciate."

Call for poster abstracts: Deadline Oct. 31, 2021

Date posted: October 13, 2021

Once again this year, abstracts are invited for research poster displays at the 2022 Banff Pork Seminar (BPS). They must be received by Oct. 31, 2021.

"The latest research findings are an anchor of the Banff Pork Seminar each year so it is no wonder that research poster abstracts are an important backdrop to the seminar," says Ben Willing, University of Alberta researcher who heads the BPS awards committee. "Watch the poster area at the Seminar and it is not hard to see the pride presenters have in their work and the way that interest builds a cross connection with the industry."

The R. O. Ball Young Scientist Award presented at the BPS each year is named after Dr. Ron Ball, a long-time researcher and former BPS program director. A scientific committee will select abstracts from undergraduate and graduate students representing the most interesting and best science from those submitted, says Willing. Students whose abstracts are selected will present their research at the Seminar on January 12 as part of the Innovators Breakout Session.

The student with the best overall combination of strong and relevant science, a well-written abstract and excellent presentation will receive a cash prize of $500. The second place winner will receive $250.

More information on poster presentations and submissions is available on the BPS website under the Awards tab.

Follow the latest news on BPS 2022 here: Inside BPS

Ashley Steeple

Ashley Steeple

Date posted: October 13, 2021

Welcome to the Inside BPS Special Meeting Report for Banff Pork Seminar 2022.

Each year this Special Report takes delegates and their industry "inside" the developments of the annual Banff Pork Seminar (BPS). It's produced by Meristem editors in partnership with BPS.

This is a different year for the pork industry in so many ways and like last year, BPS 2022, Jan. 11 to 13 will again provide new registration options for delegates. For the first time BPS will be a hybrid, with the choice to attend in person and to participate virtually.

Some things will stay the same says long-time Seminar coordinator, Ashley Steeple. One is that the BPS organizing committee has, as usual, attracted an outstanding group of speakers. As well, the seminar design of plenaries and breakout sessions will continue in the hybrid format. Plenary sessions to be broadcast live, breakout sessions will be taped and provided following the Seminar.

Once again this year, the information in this Special Report – blog items and news features – will be a good place to follow developments, says Steeple. The information is designed to be available for use by media and industry, with credit to the source.

Here are key things Steeple wants delegates to know as they plan for this event.

Banff Springs Hotel

COVID 19 protocols. One of the first questions people will have as they consider whether to attend in person is how COVID protocols will affect the Seminar experience. "It's a fluid situation but we have posted information on our website with details of how we plan to keep delegates safe and still have an enjoyable experience."

The BPS hub. The Seminar website will have the latest program, registration and participation details for the 2022 Seminar. You can also sign up for e-news advisories from Seminar coordinator Steeple.

Inside BPS blog. These blog items will provide key information and perspective prior to, during and immediately following the 2022 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 Report.

News releases and news features. Designed primarily for media and industry communications specialists, they are available for anyone to use and are available for reprint for their own use or in corporate or organization media. News releases can be used without a requirement to provide credit. News features should be credited to the Banff Pork Seminar 2022 and where possible linked to the Special Report.

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

Media assistance. As in past years, media assistance is available. Contact information and other key details can be found under the "Media Assistance" link.

Social media. Information and links to stories on BPS 2022 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.

Banff Pork Seminar 2022 will be an innovative hybrid approach

Date posted: October 13, 2021

Banff Pork Seminar 2022 will be an innovative hybrid approach
Banff Pork Seminar 2022 will be an innovative hybrid approach

The Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) is breaking new ground in 2022 with a hybrid conference Jan. 11 to 13. Delegates will have the option to either attend in person or they can participate virtually online.

"Those choices mean the 2022 Seminar is truly one not to be missed," says Ashley Steeple, BPS Coordinator. Organizers have a strong slate of speakers lined up that will be an energetic and useful experience regardless of which option delegates choose.

"This pandemic has been a time of significant change that has required patience from all the industry in planning events," says Steeple. "The safety of our delegates is of utmost importance and we are taking steps to ensure that in-person delegates have a well-managed and safe experience in keeping with mandated COVID 19 protocols.

"All delegates should read the information on BPS COVID 19 safety measures and restrictions posted on the Seminar website."

While rooms are already being booked as delegates and companies making plans for the week, Steeple says her group is also expecting the online option to attract strong interest. Plans are for the plenary sessions to be broadcast live and for breakout sessions to be taped and provided following the Seminar.

The event is also a delayed 50th anniversary show celebration planned for last year so that will add a reason to consider attending.

Program and registration details are posted on the Seminar website In fact that's the best place to follow the latest news on all developments as the Seminar nears, says Steeple.

Ongoing news postings will be available in the annual Inside BPS Special Report which can be accessed by link from the Seminar website. Delegates can also follow BPS on Twitter @BanffPork

The Banff Pork Seminar is coordinated by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, in cooperation with Alberta Pork, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and other pork industry representatives from across Canada.