Embracing Innovation

Continuous improvement means continuous innovation. Through cutting-edge technology and ongoing research, we’re continuing to increase the sustainability of pig farming. Over the years, pig farmers have embraced advancements in food safety, sustainable farming methods and animal care.

Blockchain

To enable a responsible supply chain, pig farmers are embracing blockchain1 technology to find and aggregate data and activities. Blockchain is a digital recordkeeping system in which “blocks” of data are timestamped and added to a distributed ledger.

The U.S. pork industry partnered with Ripe.io to enable pig farmers to use blockchain to monitor, evaluate and continuously improve their sustainability practices related to We Care’s six ethical principles: food safety, public health, worker safety, animal well-being, the environment and quality of life in their communities. Sustainability data and activities will be gathered and consolidated on the ripe.io platform (the data are visible to partners in the ecosystem to ensure valid certifications).2

Through these transparency efforts, we will lead the meat industry in efforts to improve sustainability, food safety and transparency.

Gene Editing

As we learn more about scientific advances, we consider ways they may be a good fit for people, pigs and the planet. One such advance is gene editing3, which makes precise, intentional and beneficial changes in the genetic material of living things.

As we’ve researched gene editing, we’ve seen beneficial uses for the U.S. pork industry, such as preventing illness. Through gene editing, we can help prevent Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), a devastating pig disease for which there is no effective cure. PRRS results in the suffering and often premature death of affected pigs. Gene editing creates genetic resistance to PRRS through a process that mirrors what could happen naturally through traditional genetic selection.


1 https://www.porkbusiness.com/article/pork-board-pilots-blockchain-technology-use-pork-industry
2 National Pork Board and RIPE.IO Partner to Enhance Responsible Pig Farming Practices Through Blockchain. National Pork Board press release, March 18, 2019. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-pork-board-and-ripeio-partner-to-enhance-responsible-pig-farming-practices-through-blockchain-300814036.html
3 https://www.pork.org/news/minnesota-pig-farmer-shares-perspective-gene-editing-animal-agriculture/