Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to deliver the 2020 Allen D. Leman swine conference online and the University of Minnesota swine group rose to the challenge. Continuing its tradition of excellent, science-driven presentations, the program blended in recorded talks and live presentations while maintaining interactions with the speakers through a dynamic chat feature.
Bringing forward the important issues faced by the swine industry
More than 800 people gathered on the online platform to share innovative solutions to issues facing the swine industry and to listen to stimulating presentations. Keynote speakers brought forward important questions that will need to be addressed in the near future. Being dependent on exports brings a lot of volatility to the swine market, said Mark Greenwood from Compeer financials and Bill Kaelin from McVean Trading and Investments highlighted the issues caused by the lack of price discovery. Will we see drastic changes in the swine industry?
Myrl Mortenson, CEO of the Hanor Company pondered if the industry should match [its] pig flows with [its] available shackle space, a 180 shift in mindset for many swine producers.
Dr. Michelle Kromm provided insights into how to handle communication in times of crisis by reminding us to keep a consistent message and to talk from the same script. But today is the time to go meet your neighbour, not when the crisis unfolds.
Influential pathogens in both pigs and humans, coronaviruses were obviously part of the program. World-renowned expert Dr. Linda Saif provided a comprehensive review of the coronavirus landscape from pathogenesis to vaccine development.
Drs. Gordon Spronk and Clayton Johnson wrapped up the conference by talking with Dr. Peter Davies about their take-away messages.
Online meetings can be social!
During the opening reception sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, special guest Chef Sutherland from the Handsome Hog Restaurant in St. Paul led a cooking class on pulled pork sandwiches while the fundraising for Second Harvest Heartland provided more than 18,000 meals for Minnesotan families in need.
Merck Animal Health innovated by offering a morning mindset session led by Dr. Auburn Ellis to reduce tension and screen fatigue. What a nice way to start the last day of the conference!
The Morrison Swine Innovator Prize celebrated its third year
This year marked the third year that a student received the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize. Zack Talbert, a student from the University of Illinois was truly honored to be the third recipient of this prestigious recognition. Zack received a $5,000 scholarship as well as a book on veterinary epidemiology. The quality of the students’ presentations was excellent but Zack’s creativity regarding the design of his patented Biosecurity Box convinced the jury of practitioners to give him the award for the second time.
If you missed a session, the videos are available on demand on the platform until the end of the year. As always, we would like to thank all of you for your continuing support. The Allen D. Leman swine conference would not exist without you and we hope to see you next year: September 18-21, 2021!