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.