Pedigree Portal: DNA Sire Requirements

DNA Sire Requirements 

All Purebred litters recorded with NSR since July 2004 are required to be sired by a boar that is negative of the Stress Gene.  If you have a boar that you are using to breed sows within your herd, a Stress Gene test must have been completed prior to recording litters.  

To fulfill these requirements, you can order a DNA card from the National Swine Registry for $4.  Once you receive the DNA card, you will notice there are 4 circles on the DNA card.  Please get DNA in all 4 circles.  The most preferred form of DNA is blood, because it lasts longer on the DNA card and is much easier for the lab to read.  Another acceptable form of DNA is semen.  If you choose to submit semen as DNA, you must use raw semen that does not have any extender in it.  Once you get DNA on the card, let it dry for 24 hours before sending it in.  If you do not let it dry, mold develops on the card, which kills the DNA and could cause your sample to be unreadable.  If you are not able to get blood or semen from your boar, the third form of DNA we can accept is hair.  If you plan to send in hair as DNA, please contact us for a DNA hair collection card, as these are different from the cards used for blood or semen.  You will need to send at least 15-20 pieces of hair and you MUST get the follicles. The DNA is ONLY in the follicle of the hair. 

You can send your DNA samples directly to the NSR office.  Once we receive your sample, we will automatically blood bank your boar, which is storing the card in our office in case any future parentage testing is needed.  Then, we will send the sample to the lab for a Stress test.  The Stress test generally takes 2-3 weeks.  The cost of blood banking is $6 and the cost of the Stress Gene test is $25.  Blood banking and Stress tests are the two requirements for all sires.  If you plan to sell semen from your Hampshire boar, you will also need to order the Hamp Color test. 

If you need your DNA testing expedited, please contact me before sending it in for special rush instructions. 

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Whitney Hosier
Hampshire/Landrace/DNA Secretary

Stock Marketing: Just Your Type

Everyone is guilty of it – skimming ads for pictures. But have you ever noticed an ad because of a clever headline? Chances are, if you did, you read it in its entirety. Wouldn’t it be nice if your ads could pack such a punch that they would stop readers in their tracks? With these quick headline writing tricks, your ad can have “stopping power.”

  •  Name a benefit – Bigger litters. Bigger profits.

  •  Tell them how sorry they’ll be if they don’t use your genetics, product or service – “I wonder what the champion drive is like,” said someone who didn’t buy from ACME Showpigs.

  • Make like Snapple, and throw out some facts – Over the last decade, we’ve farrowed more than 500 litters, and this is our best one yet.

  • Call-out to your target audience – No place is as nerve-wracking as ringside – buy your kids the best.

  • Make it newsworthy – At last, we found the boar we spent years looking for.

  • Command their attention – Find your seat at the ACME Showpig Sale.

  • Ask a question – Who will be the first person you call when you grab the banner?

  • Write, then repeat – Champion at WPX. Champion at NSS. Champion at NBS. Sensing a pattern?

  • Play with words – Big belted girls make my rockin’ world go round.

  • Metaphors, similes and analogies – oh my – Think of us as a stock market worth investing in.

I hope these examples inspire you to have a little fun writing your next headline. A simple sentence could determine the direction of your ad, and help create a concept that will cause readers to take notice. 

If you’re not feeling creative, the Seedstock EDGE staff will be happy to help you come up with a great headline – all you have to do is ask. 

For those who are itching to publish your Fall Classic success, remember Seedstock EDGE ad copy is due Nov. 29.  As always, give the friendly folks of the Marketing & Communications Department a call to help with your marketing needs.

 Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
- Katie

NSR Updates and Deadlines for Gilt Ownership

I'd first like to thank everyone for making this year's Fall Classic a tremendous success. A great set of weanling and breeding hogs were well received by a huge crowd. Hats off to the breeders and buyers that make this such a great atmosphere each year. Also, a special thanks to the Empire FFA Chapter, Iowa State University Swine Interest Group, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Dr. Mike Tripp and of course Mike, Donna, Lyndol and the Stephens County Fair Staff for their hard work towards this event.

I also wanted to drop a quick reminder to those exhibiting pedigreed barrows and gilts through the winter and spring months of 2013. Many of these pedigreed events have ownership deadlines in the very near future. The ownership deadline for gilts exhibiting at the Junior Breeding Gilt Shows in San Antonio and Houston  is December 1, 2012. All gilts must be recorded and transferred by December 1st for both of these events.

Be sure to have all of your information done in advance to avoid potential issues. Best of luck to all those that purchased pigs at this year's Fall Classic. On behalf of everyone at the National Swine Registry, have a great Thanksgiving and be sure to enjoy your time with family and friends!

Pedigree Portal: NSR Sire Requirements

When recording your pigs, please keep in mind the National Swine Registry has requirements for all purebred sires. These standards help maintain the integrity of the breeds and ensure that proper DNA specifications have been met on sires.

If you artificially inseminated your sow with purchased semen, you will need to contact the boar stud where you obtained the semen and request an AI certificate before recording your litter. To submit the request, the stud will need to have your 2-4 letter Herdmark. If you have not been set up with a Herdmark yet, please contact the National Swine Registry. Once you request this, the boar stud will issue your AI certificate directly to the NSR. When you turn in the litter registration application, NSR will use your Herdmark to match the AI certificate with the litter. 

When requesting an AI certificate, please remember to ask the boar stud for the sire’s registration number and ear notch. You will need this information to record your litter. The use of AI certificates helps ensure that litters are being recorded out of the correct sires. Also, since the boar stud is required to provide a ship date from when they sold the semen to the breeder, it helps ensure litters are being recorded with the accurate farrowing dates.   

If you use your own boar for breeding within your herd, you will need to make sure he meets the proper DNA sire requirements. The NSR requires all sires to have a DNA card banked, and all sires used must test negative for the Stress gene. To do this, simply order a DNA card from the NSR and fill out the boar’s ear notch and registration number on the card. You may use blood or semen as DNA samples. After putting blood or semen on the blotter card, let it dry for 24 hours and send the card back to NSR. You can find more information by visiting the DNA sire requirement page of our website.

Following these requirements helps ensure the integrity of the Yorkshire, Hampshire, Landrace, and Duroc breeds.

 If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 Good luck to all of you headed to the Fall Classic!

Whitney Hosier
Hampshire/Landrace/DNA Secretary

America’s Best Genetics – Animal Farming Ukraine

The National Swine Registry just completed a trade mission to the Animal Farming Ukraine show in Kiev. With respect to other countries, Ukraine is not a large swine producer, but in recent years there has been a fair amount of investment in new technology for the Ukrainian swine industry, particularly in genetics. Because of this, the National Swine Registry and its exporting members have focused on creating market share within the genetics market. Unfortunately, at this time there is not an established protocol for live swine between the U.S. and Ukraine; however, close to 3,000 doses of frozen semen have been purchased from Swine Genetics International and shipped to Ukraine in the last few years.
During the show, officials from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev stopped by to discuss the current constraints on live animal exports to Ukraine. Overall the meeting was promising and hopefully there will be movement towards a resolution in the near future. The FAS staff in Kiev has been very helpful in the establishment of the semen protocol and progress towards a live animal protocol. If a protocol is established, there are some great opportunities for U.S. purebred genetics in Ukraine.

Pictured (l to r): Dr. Justin Fix, V.P. of Global Technical Service, National Swine Registry; Mr. Tony Clayton, President, Clayton Agri-Marketing, Inc.; Mr. Randall Hager, Attaché, Foreign Agricultural Service; Mr. Vladimir Getman, Director, Promagro; Mr. Alexander Tarassevych, Agricultural Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service.

Visit to Shandong Whiteshire

This past week I had the opportunity to visit Shandong Whiteshire, a joint venture partner of Whiteshire Hamroc, LLC. The farm is located near the town of Wudi, in the Northwest part of the Shandong province and is about a 3.5 hour trip by car from Beijing.

Picture with Dr. Mike Lemmon outside of the AirWorks™ wean-to-finish barn at Shandong Whiteshire.
In January of this year the farm was stocked 1,034 head of U.S. purebred breeding stock from Whiteshire via a shipment coordinated by Clayton Agri-Marketing.

Crates of Whiteshire breeding stock waiting to be loaded onto the airplane.
Crates of Whiteshire breeding stock being loaded onto the airplane bound for China.

After going through the process of the on-farm quarantine procedures that are in place for newly built farms, they began matings in April. The first litter was farrowed July 18, 2012.

First litter of purebred Yorkshire GGP pigs farrowed at Shandong Whiteshire.
As an international member of the National Swine Registry and an America's Best Genetics farm located in China, the Shandong Whiteshire farm is a full participant in the STAGES™ global genetic evaluation. As a user of STAGES™, Shandong Whiteshire has access to one of the world's largest global purebred databases and years of research and technology. During my visit, I had the opportunity to present the staff of Shandong Whiteshire with a plaque that commemorates the first litter recorded with the National Swine Registry by the partnership's second GGP Herd - Rongchang Whiteshire.

Pictured (l to r): Mr. Ma, Salesman, Shandong Whiteshire; Joyce, President, Shandong Whiteshire; Dr. Justin Fix, V.P. of Global Technical Service, National Swine Registry; Dixie, Farm Manager, Shandong Whiteshire; Mr. Zhou, Director of Sales, Shandong Whiteshire.

Stock Marketing: Mixing It Up

So you want to advertise – great! Now, the next question is where. There where can be a tricky decision, especially when you have a limited budget. This month in “Stock Marketing,” we’re going to talk about some advertising options and ways to mix up your marketing.

  •  Put it in print – Regardless of the rumors you may have heard about print advertisement being dead, rest assured print media is very much alive and well. In fact, I would argue it is still one of the very best venues to advertise your livestock. Not only do livestock publications provide a way to get your message to a very specific group of livestock enthusiasts, but they also have a long “life.” How many of you still have the last Seedstock EDGE Showpig issue riding around with you in your truck or sitting on your coffee table? Print publications can’t be deleted from inboxes and are often used for reference, sometimes even months later.
  • Get online – The World Wide Web offers countless ways to spread the word – many of which are very affordable. In today’s fast-paced, digitally-driven world, people expect to get information NOW, and the Web can help you do that. Look into starting a website. Too expensive? Look towards social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, or study some of the free blog sites, such as Wordpress and Blogger. Many blogs will let you have multiple pages, meaning that you can essentially form a functional website for free. So log-in, send a “tweet” about the latest champion you bred, post some sale photos and blog about your upcoming litters. If you don’t think it’s effective, just look at MattLautner’s (and other's) success in the cattle industry.
  •  Be a sponsorSponsorship is often thought as a kind gesture, but the fact is, sponsorship can also be a great way to spread your message while supporting a cause that you are passionate about. The NJSA, for example, offers great opportunities for sponsors to get exposure and align their business with youth involved in the swine industry.
  •  It’s in the mail –  Direct mailing is sending a very specific message to a targeted group of consumers. Whether it's "snail mail" or an e-Blast, direct mail is a great way to attract new buyers.  If you don’t have your own mailing list, you can buy them from different companies. The National Swine Registry offers opportunities for producers to purchase one-time rights to both their mailing and emailing lists. I would also suggest starting your own list of past buyers or people who’ve come to your farm and expressed interest in your stock. Then, you can keep them up-to-date by sending sale flyers, catalogs and even Christmas and thank you cards.
  • Word of mouth – Even with all these marketing tools, you can’t overlook the power of networking. Get out and talk to people at the shows. Call folks up when you have a good set of pigs for sale, and just make time to talk to your fellow breeders.

I hope you learned some new ways to mix up your marketing. Remember that the NSR Marketing & Communications Department offers many ways to help you market your animals – not just the Seedstock. Give us a call, and we’ll help you find the best mix for your marketing.

The "Crate Debate"

There is no doubt - it’s an election year. Even if you wanted to, it would be nearly impossible to escape the seemingly endless political propaganda making its way into every media channel out there. But, even as the presidential race heats up, there is another debate going on – one that has an effect on pork producers across the U.S. – the crate debate.

In recent months, major retailers and restaurants, including McDonalds, ConAgra Foods and Kroger, have announced plans to move toward sourcing their pork products from suppliers who raise their pigs without the use of gestation crates. This push for crate-free pork is a major concern for producers, who must not only decide if a shift to group housing is the right decision for their animals, but if it is even economically feasible for their operation.

Like any good debate, there are two sides to consider. Animal rights activists, among others, claim that gestation stalls are inhumane and unacceptable. Producers, as well as industry processors, can be found on both sides of the debate.
Some, like Tom Dittmer, originally made the shift from group housing to crates because of aggressive animal behavior. When Dittmer began farming in the ’70s, his sows lived in pastures with huts for shelter – but he eventually transitioned to indoor housing and gestation crates.

“The reason the industry switched to crates wasn’t because we wanted to harm our animals…We did it because we thought it was best for the animals.”
On the other side of the fence are individuals like Paul Willis, who oversees a group of farmers raising pork for Niman Ranch, which rebukes animal confinement of any kind.

Read the rest of this New York Times story with Dittmer and Willis here.
For further debate on the topic, visit this page from CNN’s eatocracy site.

At the end of the day, there are a few important lessons here. First, as producers, we need to inform ourselves on both sides of the debate and know not only where we stand but why. Often what consumers are really looking for is an open line of communication and a genuine interest from producers who not only listen to their concerns, but respond to them. It is also important that we recognize there are several approaches to animal production, and one is not necessarily better than another. This point was emphasized in the National Pork Board’s response to McDonald’s announcement last February that the fast food giant plans to transition away from conventionally raised pork:

“…the National Pork Board maintains the position, supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, that there are numerous ways, including sow gestation stalls, to provide proper care for sows. Each housing system, including gestation stalls, open pens, free-access stalls and pastures, has welfare advantages and disadvantages that must be considered by an individual farmer. Regardless of the type of system used, what really matters is the individual care given to each pig – a mainstay of our industry's Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.”

If group housing is something you are considering, two swine researchers from Minnesota offer management tips for that transition here. 

As with political propaganda in an election year, the amount of available information on sow housing can be overwhelming – and the information you do find will likely be conflicting. Although at times it can be exasperating, it is our job to be informed. Take time to read all sides of the debate, and make a decision that you can support with a mix of reliable information and practical experience. You, after all, are the pork producer.
Look for more industry insights to come!

Learn About Industry Careers

Purdue University Animal Sciences Department shared videos from recent speakers at their annual Fall Pork Career Night that was held on Monday, Oct. 3.

The career night gave students interested in the swine industry an opportunity to hear company representatives talk about potential careers and internships involving commercial production, seedstock, feed sales, processing, pharmaceutical sales, nutrition and production. 

To view the videos and learn more about careers within the industry visit the Purdue Animal Sciences Vimeo channel.

Pedigree Portal: Easy Ways to Record Your Purebreds

As a service to its members, NSR offers a couple of simple ways you can record your litters:
1) Submitting a litter application by mail or fax

2) Recording the litter online

The National Swine Registry allows you to record your litters by mailing in a litter application that you can obtain by clicking on the Registration Application and Sow Productivity Data Form here

Another very simple way to record your litter is submitting the information online. This method is quicker than having to wait for us to receive your litters through the mail and is very easy. You can enter your litter via our website.

If you haven’t already set up a user name and password, you can obtain one by calling the NSR office at 765-463-3594. Once you’ve recorded your litters, you should receive a confirmation e-mail within one business day letting you know we received your litters.

Either way you record your litter, the required fields are:  litter number, farrowing date, dam’s ear notch and registration number, sire’s ear notch and registration number, ear notches of the baby boars and gilts in the litter, the total number born in the litter, and the number born alive.

Please keep in mind when filling in the ear notches of the baby pigs, you do not need to list the litter number with each ear notch. For example, if you are recording pigs 2-3 and 2-4, you only need to enter a 3 and a 4 in the boar or gilt space since you already entered a 2 as the litter number. 

If you would like to record your male pigs as barrows rather than boars, simply put an ‘X’ in the same box as the pig’s ear notch on the litter application.

As always, if you have any questions please contact the NSR office and we would be glad to help you out.

Whitney Hosier

Fall Activities & Reminders

As we move into the fall season, several activities will be taking place during the next few months. These include the NJSA Eastern Regional, American Royal, North American and, of course, the granddaddy of them all - the Fall Classic in Duncan, Okla. Information for the Eastern Regional and Fall Classic can be found at under the Shows & Events tab. The Eastern Regional, which will take place in Hamburg, N.Y., is October 11-14. The entry deadline for that show has already passed. Rules & Regulations, Entry Forms and a schedule for the NSR Fall Classic can be found in the September issue of Seedstock EDGE or by clicking here. The entry deadline is October 12....don't miss this deadline! Duncan Up!!!

Also, a reminder to breeders of purebred animals that are sold for the 2013 Southwest shows - Most of these events require that animals be recorded and transferred to the junior exhibitor before December 1. Take care of your business and get these animals recorded and transferred in a timely manner. Don't wait until the last minute!!!

If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at 765-463-3594, ext. 107, or e-mail me at

10 Things I Learned as an NSR Intern

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell set out to discover what makes people successful. He concluded that a key factor in being successful is opportunity – those who are given extraordinary opportunities and have the presence of mind to seize on them outperform those around them.

I can say, the past two summers I have been blessed with two extraordinary opportunities. Last summer, the PR team at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau took a chance on me as a college freshman. It’s that experience that gave me the confidence and experience to apply for this position, and I owe a debt of gratitude to Jen, Katie and everyone who was involved in selecting me the 2012 NSR Marketing & Communications intern.

Over the course of the summer, I have learned and grown a lot. Below are just a few lessons I’ll take back with me to Madison as I start my junior year at the University of Wisconsin this fall.

Be flexible. Attending and working two national shows this summer served as a great reminder of the value of a little patience and flexibility. In the process of orchestrating such large events, bumps in the road are inevitable. At both World Pork Expo and NSR Summer Spectacular, I realized the importance of being proactive, working together and solving problems. As the old adage goes, you never know when life might throw you a curveball. You have to be able to adjust and push ahead.

Don’t be afraid to ask. We all need help once in a while. I’m incredibly indebted to the staff at NSR and all of the sources who provided information for my writing assignments. One of the most important things I learned this summer was the importance of picking up the phone and asking for what you need. More often than not, people are willing to help.

The expert was once the beginner. During the course of the summer, I was fortunate to work with a great group of talented communicators. I frequently spent time poring over my drafts, designs and other works to find numerous corrections and improvements. As an intern or employee, it’s so important to take the feedback you receive and grow from it. Everyone needs a trusted editor. I know those experiences have made me a better communicator, and have helped me to realize that everyone starts somewhere. There is no substitute for experience.

Consume media. In the communications business, if you aren’t aware of what others are doing, you’re probably not doing your job right. Today, media is evolving and changing at an incredible pace. If you don’t take the time to stop and see what new opportunities exist, you will be left behind.

Don’t force it. This is one that everyone in the M&C division can relate to. Just as every judge searches for the right term to describe the animal they are evaluating, we strive to find the right word, phrase or design. A lot of times, to tap your inner creativity, you can’t force it. You have to be patient enough to find what truly fits.

It’s hard to make progress by being the contending bidder. This one comes from senior fieldman Ralph Doak, who reminded a crowd at World Pork Expo that the way one young breeder driving his boar into the sale ring earned champion honors was by bringing some quality genetics home from a few conferences in years gone by and working hard to make them better. The underlying lesson in this speech is one that hit home with me as a reminder that, in whatever line of work, we have to be willing to take a risk to move forward. In the context of an internship, that might mean taking on responsibilities you’re a little bit uncomfortable with or stepping out of the box on a project – you never know what kind of results you’ll get.

You aren’t your audience. A few weeks back, I had the incredible opportunity to join Jen and Katie in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the 2012 Agricultural Media Summit. Along the way, this was one sentiment I truly took to heart. As a writer, it’s so easy to get caught up in what we learn from an interview or story that is interesting to us. That’s why it’s so important to remember who you’re truly working for – your audience. What does it mean to them? What do they want to know? One veteran journalist suggested taping a photo to your desk or monitor to remind yourself to write for them.

Tell the story. Today, there are a seemingly unlimited number of platforms for media professionals to get their brand involved. But some things haven’t changed that much. Whether communicating the “old school” way or using social media, people still crave stories and people they can relate to. No matter how the tools for communicating change, it still hinges on finding great people with great stories to tell. And it’s a great feeling when you do it right.

Have fun with your work. I give the Marketing & Communications team a lot of credit for not only tackling an impressive summer workload, but also for having fun with it along the way. It adds so much color and life to the office and makes every day a little more interesting.

Don’t ever forget to thank the people around you. Without a dedicated membership, none of us at NSR would be here. In the daily grind of producing a magazine or prepping for a show, I’ve learned the importance of putting people first. The people you meet are often the most valuable aspect of an internship. Taking advantage of that is so critical.

Pedigree Portal: Breed Characteristics of NSR Breeds

We are often asked about breed qualifications of the 4 breeds of the National Swine Registry. Below is a summary of breed requirements and markings. 
Durocs should be red with down ears. If a Duroc has white on any part of its body, including its feet, it may be disqualified. It is okay for Durocs to have white on the end of their nose, as long as it doesn’t break the rim of the nose. They are not allowed to have more than 3 black spots and none over 2 inches in diameter on the body. 

Hampshires should be black with a white belt that goes completely around both front legs and feet. They are allowed to have some white on their nose, as long as it doesn’t exceed the rim of the nose. If the white goes under the pig’s chin, it cannot be more than what a U.S. minted quarter will cover. Hampshires can have white on their back legs, as long as it is only from the hock down. These color requirements must be met by Hampshire boars and gilts for them to be eligible to show in breeding events. If a Hampshire doesn’t have a full belt, it can still be bred and its offspring can be registered; however, it can’t be exhibited as a breeding animal at NSR shows. 

Landrace should be white with down ears and should not have colored hair on any part of their body. If a Landrace has large, colored spots or numerous colored spots on its skin, it is ineligible to be recorded. 

Yorkshires should be white with erect ears and not have any colored spots larger than an U.S. minted quarter. 

Please keep in mind if any breed shows evidence of a third dewclaw, it is ineligible to be recorded.  Durocs, Landrace, and Yorkshires should have at least a 6-6 underline to be recorded. Hampshires must have a 6-6 underline to be shown as a breeding animal, but can still be recorded if their underline is not 6-6.

I hope this helps clear up any uncertainties you may have. As always, let us know if you have any questions!

Whitney Hosier

Keeping You & Your Animals Healthy

Several fairs in Indiana and Ohio have recently had exhibitors and livestock affected by the influenza virus. Influenza, or the flu, can occasionally be transmitted from people to pigs or from pigs to people. Here are some recommendations from National Pork Board you can follow to help protect you and your animals from illness:

1) If anyone in your family has flu-like symptoms, please do not attend any public livestock events, including your county, state or regional fairs, for seven days after the symptoms began or until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications - whichever is longer.

2) If any of your animals show signs of flu-like illness on the farm, please check with your veterinarian before bringing them to your county, state or regional shows. 

In addition to the precautions above, Dr. Tony Forshey, State Veterinarian in Ohio, says that being proactive and doing things as simple as washing your hands can help prevent the spread of illness. See Dr. Forshey's other comments on protecting animal and human health by clicking here

For additional information, refer to A Champion's Guide to Youth Swine Exhibition: Biosecurity, available here

By taking these precautions, you can help protect yourself, your animals and the people and animals around you. We appreciate your cooperation.

Stock Marketing: Picture Perfect

You've heard it a million times that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in June's Stock Marketing, we learned how a good picture helped the Kaufman’s land their Hillbilly Bone son at Prairie State Semen,Inc.  Now, we’re going to talk about how to get that perfect picture.
  • Get your subject to 12 o clock - Whether you’re selling pigs online or vying for buyers attention in print advertisements, a picture can make or break a sale. Have your pigs dialed in before you take a picture. Make sure your pigs are clean, in shape and accustomed to the surface you will attempt to pose them on.
  • But don’t shoot at noon - While ‘high noon’ may have been preferred time for fictional Wild West shootouts, it’s far from the ideal time to shoot livestock pictures. The bright, direct sunlight throws harsh highlights and shadows, which oftentimes don’t accentuate the features we would like. It’s also much more challenging to snap pictures of white pigs in this light. Oftentimes, it makes them so light many details can be lost in the picture. Morning and afternoon light is much less direct and harsh, and overcast days provide the best soft lighting.
  • Just a little background - Although the pig is the star of your photo, please remember to do a quick background check. Make sure there is nothing that could detract the viewer's eye from your animal. An open, grassy area makes a great background. Another common mistake is to take a picture of a light animal in front of a light background or a dark animal in front of a dark background.
  • Get low - Snap your shot at the pig’s level. Shooting down on or up at an animal can distort their appearance. Generally speaking, shooting down on an animal will make it appear smaller – something most of us will agree isn't desirable.
  • Take your time - Taking pictures of livestock isn't easy. It can, at times, be very frustrating trying to capture the perfect pose for that 'money shot.' So plan ahead, and allow plenty of time for the process. Don’t rush, and if something doesn't go quite as planned, take a deep breath and try again.
Now, it’s time to start snapping great shots! As with anything, practice makes perfect so get out there and have fun taking photos. Remember to send all of your pictures and ad information to the NSR Marketing and Communications Department by Aug. 21 to save your spot in our September Showpig Issue of the Seedstock EDGE.

Best wishes,

Pedigree Portal: NSR Membership Opportunities

Members of the National Swine Registry can take advantage of several benefits, including a one year subscription to the Seedstock Edge magazine, discounted litter rates and voting privileges within in the organization. To become a member of the NSR, you can simply fill out a membership application. The first year for NSR membership is $85 per breed. To maintain membership after the first year, it is $75 each year. 

As a member of NSR, you can record your litters at a much cheaper rate than non-members. As a member, if you record your litter within 90 days of the farrowing date, the cost of the litter is $15. If the litter is older than 90 days, the cost is $30.

You are also welcome to record as a non-member.
 The cost for a non-member to record within 90 days of the litter’s farrowing date is $30.  If a non-member is recording after the pigs are 90 days old, the cost is $60.

If you are younger than 21, you are eligible for Junior membership, which is free to set up.
 Junior members receive the same discounted litter rates as NSR members.

Please keep in mind, membership runs by the calendar year and it is breed specific.
 For example, if you are a Hampshire member, and you record a Duroc litter, you will not get the discounted litter rates for the Duroc litter.

If you have any questions, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 
I hope you all are getting through this hot summer and are having a great show season!

Whitney Hosier

Industry Insights: Marking the Morrill Act

Most of the year, I call my home Madison, Wis. In the heart of the University of Wisconsin campus, cresting Bascom Hill, sits a statue honoring a man most Americans would agree was a visionary leader Abraham Lincoln.

He is not emblazoned at the University of Wisconsin for his role in holding together a divided country through what was arguably one of its most tumultuous eras, though he could be. The reason he’s honored there is for his role in shaping not only our university, but modern agriculture.

During the dark days of the Civil War, 150 years ago this month, Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, legislation that created the land-grant university system, into law. The act granted 30,000 acres of land to each state for each member of Congress that state had. The money raised from the sale of the land, a combined $7.5 million nationwide, was to be invested by each state to create new institutions or boost existing programs focused on agriculture, industry and home economics.

Today’s land-grant institutions are agricultural research powerhouses. Over the past 150 years, they’ve supported research that has driven agricultural productivity to impressive levels. While the topics of research have changed, the mission of the land-grant system has not. Land grants do research that aims to both add to our understanding of the world and, perhaps more importantly, serve the people of their state and nation.

As institutions, land grants were created with hopes that the education they promised would be open to all, helping to boost the human capital of the population, particularly in agriculturally-dominated, rural areas. Relevant to anyone with involvement in youth livestock programs, Cooperative Extension and its 4-H program were born out of the land grant philosophy of taking knowledge to the people, wherever they were.

While they boast a legacy of discovery and continue to serve agriculture and the broader population, most land-grant colleges, like many other state-supported institutions of higher education, are fiscally-challenged in a very significant way. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, state support for higher education dropped over 25 percent from 1990-2010 as states struggle to make ends meet. At the federal level, deficit reduction efforts also threaten grant dollars that have helped fund research at the land-grant level for many years.

Faced with these challenges, land grants have been forced to innovate. Obtaining extramural dollars, increasing private giving and finding savings wherever possible have been parts of the solution to budget woes in many states. But funding challenges have also caused tuition to grow at rates that some fear will make a college education at some of our nation’s premier public schools out of reach for many. Extension programs, too, are dealing with budget cuts that impact local livestock programs.

Many of us have a story to tell about the importance of the work these institutions do. If we hope to see the next 150 years of land-grant agricultural colleges have just as much impact as the first, it’s time we start telling that story to our elected officials and, maybe more importantly, the general public. This anniversary is the perfect opportunity for that.

NSR Summer Spectacular Under Way in Louisville, Ky.

The 2012 NSR Summer Spectacular is off to a great start in Louisville, Ky., this week! With a great set of contests, shows and sales on tap, we look forward to bringing you some sights and scenes from throughout the week. Be sure to watch the NSR Shows & Sales blog, where we'll have results from tonight's Junior Purebred Barrow Show appearing throughout the evening. Below are some photos from the first couple days of activities here in Louisville.

NSR Director of Junior Activities Cally Hass helps pair up some young NJSA members at Tuesday's MVP (Mentoring Values People) event.

NJSA Junior Board members Amy Newnum and Kaylee Miller help their group during the scavenger hunt.

One of nearly a dozen Barnyard Olympics teams concentrate on catching their egg during the egg toss contest.

An annual favorite in the NJSA Barnyard Olympics, the water relay proved exciting again in 2012. Here, Nalaney Guyer  tries to fill her team's bottle without getting her team member wet!

The Skillathon Contest, held on Wednesday, saw a large number of juniors demonstrate their swine industry knowledge for facilitators.

Before Showmanship Preliminaries got underway, the NJSA Junior Board of Directors and NSR staff officially kicked off the NSR Summer Spectacular at the Opening Ceremonies.

NJSA Secretary Kayla Meyer addresses the crowd during the NSR Summer Spectacular Opening Ceremonies.

Stock Marketing: Attention-Getting Ads

Everyone knows our showpig issues get a little hefty. In fact, we expect three times the number of ads in our September Showpig issue of the Seedstock EDGE than the July issue you’re most likely flipping through this week. So for all of you advertisers out there wondering how to make your ad stand out among the clutter, here are a few quick tips.

  • Lead with a strong headline – (Sorry, but your farm name doesn’t count.) An ad headline needs to give potential customers news or advice, evoke emotion, establish curiosity or make a statement about your products. Now the trick to a good headline is making it short, but impactful. Five times as many readers will read the headline in an ad rather than the small print so make it a good one. Amazingly, most readers are bored by the ninth word. Marketing research shows the best headlines are less than eight words. 
  • Use the body copy to your advantage – Now I know that many ads will be filled with prospect pictures, herdsires and past winners, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best use of the words in your ad. While straight-to-the-point thank-yous and pedigrees are nice, think of how much more impact your ad could have with a testimonial from a junior exhibitor or a strong statement a judge gave during reasons. Get creative and think of new ways to say the same things.
  • Make it a sight to be seen – No one likes dull, boring ads. Think of supporting visuals that can support your claims. For me, brainstorming and word association help. For example, if your headline claims, “it takes more than luck,” then make a list of anything that reminds you of luck: four-leaf clovers, rabbit feet, pennies (face-up of course), leprechauns, the Irish, etc. Nothing is too crazy, when you’re brainstorming, some of the most striking images come from the most out-of-the-box ideas.
  • Communicate to the ‘creatives’ – Now that you have an idea what you want, you need to make your vision clear to the folks creating your ad. Sure, they’re good at what they do, but they’re not mind-readers; if you have an idea in mind, tell them. Even if you don’t think your concept is complete, the ad designers can often take what you have and build on your ideas to create an ad.
  • Meet deadlines – Last but not least, it is hard to create a good ad without the materials. Be conscious of deadlines. Designers need time to layout and put together your ads. Editors need time to check your copy. You need time to look over and approve the ad. And the publication needs time to reserve a spot and place your ad before their magazine is printed. Since everything takes time, you need to have all of your materials (copy, photos, ideas) in on time. To see the Seedstock EDGE deadlines click here.
As always, if you’ve hit a creative road block or would like some marketing guidance, give the Marketing and Communications Team at the National Swine Registry a call. We’re always glad to help.


Whiteshire Hamroc LLC signs joint venture with Chinese swine company

Recently, Justin Fix, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Technical Service for the National Swine Registry, attended the joint venture signing ceremony between Whiteshire Hamroc LLC and Tangrenshen Co. Ltd. The ceremony was held to celebrate the next step in the partnership between these two companies – the construction of an international genetic research and development facility in Northeast Indiana. Whiteshire Hamroc LLC, a genetics company located in Albany, Ind., has been a long-time member of NSR and utilizes STAGES™ for their genetic program. Tangrenshen Co. Ltd. is the operating partner behind Meishan Whitshire – the first Chinese-based joint venture to record U.S. derived pigs born in China with NSR.

The new research and genetic facility will participate in the STAGES™ genetic evaluation system and will quickly become one of the premier purebred herds in the world. In addition to the research, training will be provided for both domestic and international swine farm managers and workers to enhance the implementation and success of genetic programs.

Dr. Fix was invited to speak on behalf of NSR about the genetic and scientific benefits a facility like this will provide to all involved.

To read the official press release from Whiteshire Hamroc regarding the joint venture, please see below.

Justin Fix, Ph.D., discusses the benefits of the new facility with attendees.

Pictured (l to r): Mr. Darick Wong, Vice Chairman of the Boar of Directors, Tangrenshen, and Chairman of the new farm; Dr. Brian Richert, Associate Professor, Purdue University; Dr. Ron Brock, Area Veterinarian, USDA; Dr. Justin Fix, VP of Global Technical Service, NSR; Dr. Allan Schinckel, Professor, Purdue University; and Dr. Mike Lemmon, Owner, Whiteshire Hamroc. 

International Research & Development Farm to be Located in NE Indiana U.S. Company Signs Joint Venture Agreement with Chinese Partner
Whiteshire Hamroc LLC, a Noble County Indiana swine genetics company, announces a joint venture cooperation with Tangrenshen Co. Ltd., an integrated pork and feed company in Hunan Province, China, to build an international research and development farm in Northeast Indiana. A joint venture signing ceremony will be held on June 9th, 2012 at the Kendallville Event Center beginning at 10:30 AM.

“This new facility is to be the first international swine research and development farm for both the United States and China,” said Michael Lemmon, CEO of Whiteshire Hamroc LLC. “Employees will perform genetic and production research on traits and techniques that will be specifically utilized in genetic improvement programs for farms both in the United States and China,” Lemmon added.

The research center will double as a training ground for farm managers from China. Not only will they learn about new genetic and production techniques/technology, but will also receive management training. “The instruction will be focused on developing more effective, successful production teams and improving efficiency on the farms in China, which is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork.” explained Lemmon.

According to Scott Lawrence of Whiteshire Hamroc, other U.S. swine genetics companies will assist in providing genetic components and guiding the research and development projects at the new facility. “The partners in PureTek Genetics LLC will provide valuable genetic assets and other assistance with this project,” said Lawrence. Along with Whiteshire Hamroc, PureTek Genetics members include Tempel Genetics Inc. and Shaffer Superior Genetics Inc. of Indiana, and Cedar Ridge Farms Inc. of Illinois. “The PureTek Genetics LLC team will provide the largest purebred genetic base in the world for further development and testing on this new research farm. Tangrenshen and their Chinese customers will benefit directly from PureTek’s combined efforts toward genetic improvement,” Lawrence added.

Local Impact
Locally, the new research and development farm will generate at least 25 long term jobs and well over 100 short term construction jobs. Local vendors, veterinarians, businesses and contractors will have the opportunity to provide goods and services to the project. The property taxes generated are estimated to be significantly higher than those currently being paid on the eventual property where the farm will be built. Local hotels, restaurants and retailers will benefit from the steady stream of Chinese visitors that will come to this facility for training, selection of animals, or touring the state of the art facilities. “In short,” says Lemmon, “Northeast Indiana will become a destination for Chinese people that are involved with the most important agricultural product in China… swine.”

In 2008, Whiteshire Hamroc LLC signed its first long term joint venture agreement with Tangrenshen Co. Ltd. With this original agreement, Whiteshire Hamroc agreed to provide technologies crucial to a successful production system including swine genetics, building systems, and production protocols to its Chinese partner. Since that time, the 1200-sow Meishen Whiteshire farm has been constructed in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China. This joint venture production system has been in production since the fall of 2008, and features Whiteshire’s patented AirWorks buildings.

The Meishen Whiteshire farm has been populated with Whiteshire Hamroc breeding stock from the United States. Production has been ongoing and currently approaches the same levels and quality of production as Whiteshire’s farms in the United States. Meishen Whiteshire is the first foreign swine farm to receive U.S. pedigrees and registrations from the National Swine Registry in West Lafayette, IN. In addition, the Meishen Whiteshire Farm was recognized as one of China’s top Nucleus Farms in 2011.

Sales of the purebred breeding pigs from the Meishen Whiteshire farm have been excellent and demand for breeding pigs has resulted in the development of a second Meishen 1200-sow farm in Hebei Province, China. The construction of this second farm has already started and should be ready to accept a new group of Whiteshire pigs from the United States by the end of 2012.

Scott Lawrence
Whiteshire Hamroc, LLC
4728 N 200 W
Albion, IN 46701
260-636-7304 ext 111

NSR names VP of Member Outreach & Youth Development and Junior Activity Coordinator

I am pleased to announce the hiring of Brian Arnold, Lafayette, Ill., as the VP of Member Outreach & Youth Development for the National Swine Registry. Brian is a graduate of Black Hawk East and Purdue University. He has served as an ag business instructor and co-livestock judging coach at Black Hawk East since 2006. He and his wife, Molly, along with their 1-year-old son, Reece, will be relocating to the West Lafayette area in the near future. We are excited to have Brian on board starting July 9th.

We have also hired Torie Schwartz, Rossville, Ind., as the Junior Activities Coordinator. Torie is a graduate of Black Hawk East and Western Illinois University, where she was a member of both school's livestock judging teams. Torie also served as a junior board member and officer for the American Junior Shorthorn Association. We look forward to having Torie as part of our team.

Both Brian and Torie will be attending the NSR Summer Spectacular in Louisville, so make sure to stop and introduce yourself to them!