Ontario Agriculture

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UofG Swine Research Day brings together researchers and industry

The importance of agriculture and food research and collaborative efforts were the focus at the inaugural University of Guelph Swine Research Day last week.

Centralia Swine Research Update organizing group.

The new UofG Swine Research Day brings together the Centralia Swine Research Update and the Mike Wilson Swine Research Day in a new partnership. The interest in the day exceeded our expectations, said Terri O’Sullivan, assistant professor in the Ontario Veterinary College’s department of Population Medicine and one of the day’s organizers.

The science of livestock research is an ever moving field, noted Malcolm Campbell, UofG Vice-President Research. While a century ago work was primarily focused on husbandry issues related to both poultry and pork “today we see remarkable examples of research at the cutting edge of science.”

The work at UofG completely underscores this, he added.

Agriculture and food is important to the province and “it’s important to us,” said Jeff Wichtel, Dean of the Ontario Veterinary College. He emphasized the strong value OVC places on having students trained in the agriculture industry, as well as the value that applied research brings to this industry.

The research day featured Mike Wilson keynote presenter, Dr. David Fraser, professor in the internationally respected Animal Welfare Program of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

“At the farm level when we think of animal welfare, we think of animal care or animal husbandry, so good nutrition, healthcare, low stress handling, appropriate environments, the nuts and bolts of animal welfare and daily work of farmers and vets,” said Fraser, but animal welfare has also become an area of policy for global corporations, international agencies and governments so how should animal agriculture position itself in the midst of this?

This is a very specialized, skilled demanding occupation, he added, and encouraged focus on agriculture and animal production as a trusted profession that emphasizes the skill, knowledge and performance of the people. Watch Dr. Fraser's presentation online.

The University of Guelph Faculty presentation featured Dr. Jim Squires, chair of the Ontario Agricultural College’s Department of Animal Biosciences.  

Squires outlined his research work in solving the boar taint problem, including ongoing work to develop genetic markers for use in breeding programs to select for low boar taint lines of pigs.  He underscored the value of industry support. “When you bring a project to a certain point and have industry come on board to help out and get samples, it makes all the difference in the world.”

Watch Dr. Squire's presentation online.

The day also featured research updates from UofG faculty across campus, as well as poster pitches and oral presentations from Masters and PhD candidates at the University of Guelph.  Top poster prizes went to Danielle Hopkins, OVC, and Emily Hill, Ontario Agricultural College. Saranya Nair, OVC, placed first in the Masters Graduate Student Oral Presentation category and Russell Fraser, OVC, placed first in the PhD Graduate Student Oral Presentation category.

Centralia Swine Research Update (CSRU) generously funded the graduate student oral and poster competition. CSRU’s legacy will be providing support for the competition for years to come, added Doug Richards, a founding member of the Centralia Swine Research Update.

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