Paying It Forward With Pigs

During the first week of March, while many of us were in Belton for Southwest Type Conference, several communities in South-Central Indiana were hit by large tornadoes, causing widespread damage and injuries throughout Clark County. Many families in the path of this storm were left with their homes damaged or completely destroyed.

Feeling compelled to help those affected by the tornadoes, the Shaffer family of Albany, Ind. decided to donate 1% of the proceeds from their 2012 Shaffer’s Goldrush Customer Appreciation Pig Sale to help a family from the Clark County area, who lost their home.

“My mom’s house was hit and destroyed by a tornado when she was little, so she’s always been able to relate to tornado victims,” Aimee (Shaffer) Inskeep shares. “We just wanted to be able to do something to help this family.”  

Breeders from across the country brought their weanling pigs, all sired by boars from Shaffer’s Gold Rush, to the sift and sale that took place in Richmond, Ind. on March 10th. There were 204 pigs at the event, sifted by Kade Hummel. Kevin Wendt was on the auction block, and successfully sold all 155 head selected for the sale. The percentage of the proceeds donated from the sale totaled $632. Pete's Duck Inn, a small restaurant located in Albany, ran the concessions stand at the event and also donated $100 of their profits. Another $100 was donated by Lloyd Arthur of Greenfiled, Ind., for a total donation of $832.

“We wanted the money to go to a family to help them get back on their feet,” Aimee says. “The money could be used for anything from buying groceries, to getting gas, or putting it toward bills and home repairs.”

One of the great things about this industry is the heart and compassion of those involved, like the Shaffer family. This is something we, as people and producers, can be proud of. Congratulations to the Shaffers on a successful sale, and for paying it forward to those in need. 

Correction on date - Purple Power Customer Appreciation Sale

Purple Power's Customer Appreciation Sale will be held on Sunday, March 25 (not March 31 as listed on the NJSA Calendar) at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds, Lafayette, Ind. The sift will begin at 11 a.m. with Kade Hummel sifting the pigs. The sale will begin at 4 p.m. Check page 259 in the March Seedstock EDGE for more information. Contact Chris Danner at 765.414.1161 or NSR Representative Mike Paul 765.427.2692 for more information.

Data Sharing: A Promising Partnership

A couple weeks ago, Dr. Fix and I had the opportunity to travel to Northern Illinois for a visit with Jim Moest. Jim and his brother, Steve, are owner-operators of High Plains Pork.
In the last year, High Plains Pork has partnered with PureTek Genetics in the use of purebred genetics in a commercial test herd. This partnership is proving to be a win-win-win situation, with High Plains Pork, PureTek Genetics, and National Swine Registry (NSR) all realizing the genetic benefits of collaboration and data sharing between the commercial and purebred industries.

For Jim and Steve, they not only receive genetic services from NSR through Clint Schwab and Justin Fix, but they are also making advances in their commercial herd that would be difficult to attain outside of this partnership. “We’re speeding up that process because we’re getting the best boars on a third of our herd, so around 600 sows a year,” Jim says. “That’s a big thing. We look at this as a long-term relationship with PureTek, and we want to build that up.”

Every three weeks, semen from top level PureTek Genetics nucleus sires is sent to the High Plains commercial sow herd for single sire matings. These pigs are individually tagged at birth, tracked for mortality through finishing barn closeout, and weighed and scanned for body composition just prior to harvest. All of this data collected from the commercial test herd goes back into the STAGES database, which in turn provides greater information for selections within the nucleus populations of PureTek Genetics.

Data tracking: from single sire matings to individual piglet identification at farrowing.

All pigs in the High Plains Pork commercial test herd are individually tagged within 24 hours of birth.

The individual ear tags allow data to be tracked for each pig from farrow to finish.

 Here is what Dr. Fix has to say about the data partnering of these entities:

“With the known existence of G x E interactions that result in genetics responding differently to the nucleus versus commercial environment, commercial test herds are a necessity to maximize genetic improvement. This advantage to genetic progress is further complimented with the ability to capture a greater number of observations for each sire used. The testing herd differentiates itself from others in that it is a complete program – obviously, all nucleus sires used in the test herd are connected to the database, but because the commercial sow herd is of known parentage, it can be connected to the genetic database as well.”  

This collaborative effort between a successful commercial producer and a reputable group of purebred producers is not only a testament to the future of the purebred industry, but it also serves as a great model for other producers to follow. For the full story on the High Plains Pork commercial test herd and their collaboration with PureTek Genetics, make sure you check out the 2012 GeneLink magazine that will be out in April.