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2007 World Pork Expo


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2007 World Pork Expo June 7-9, 2007, Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Too Much of a Good Thing...Is Rarely a Good Thing (with apologies to Martha Stewart)

Variation is a natural part of biological systems and a characteristic that cannot be eliminated. However, the wise producer will institute procedures from the boar stud to the final loading of the finished animals which at a minimum, does not increase the natural variation in growth. Variation costs money, lots of it. Since we adopted systems which produce weekly lots of pigs, the pigs flow through the farm in age-segregated groups, often moving two or three times to different locations. When their growth performance begins to spread, the time and the cost associated with their completion and marketing begins to rise.

Two Peas in a Pod---They Ain't"

So we are talking about not adding to the fundamental problems which biological production systems deal out just because of their nature. Some of those problems include seasonality, the complexity of growth mechanisms as a key variance enhancer (compared to non-biological production—like automobile manufacture etc.) and the fixed periods of production which cannot be speeded up with an extra shift (like gestation). I’m contending that the next major movement forward in competitiveness is the producer’s ability to manage (certainly never eliminate!) variation more effectively. There is lots of money on that table.

"Don't Let Your Assets...,Well, Sit on Their Assets"

Agricultural production is kind of a strange bird compared to other business processes. In economic terms, one of the real challenges is something called “asset turnover”. Asset turnover is the time it takes to generate the value of all assets used in the production process through sales of finished products. Asset turnover is a key determinate of Return on Equity along with net income and level of leverage employed (see the Dupont Equation if you are a budding MBA).

If you think about it, crop producers purchase a $400,000 combine which they operate a few weeks a year and then it is a high-priced bird perch for the next 10 or so months. This is the killer of asset turnover in most biological production processes since many of them are not continuous.

Risk based inspection series, segment 01

This multi part risk based inspection series provides you information on what issues are important to risk based inspection (RBI).

This epsiode is about 90 minutes long and features Dr. Barbara Masters, Administrator, of Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discussing the vision of RBI.

SwineCast RBI segment 01 . Click to listen or right click to download mp3 file to your computer.