Innovators Celebrated at Banff Pork Seminar

30 January 2012, at 8:37am

CANADA – Three Canadian pork industry innovators were presented with awards for their accomplishments at the 2012 Banff Pork Seminar, held 0n 17 to 20 January.

The winners of this year's F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production include Garrett Gerbrandt of the Puratone Corporation in Niverville, Manitoba; Dale Heptonstall of Sunterra Farms in Acme, Alberta; and Mary Haugh and Peter Jones of LMR Inc. in Listowel, Ontario, reports Meristem Land and Science.

“All successful industries are built on the ability to innovate,” said Dr Michael Dyck of the University of Alberta, chair of the F.X. Aherne prize committee. “The innovations developed by each of this year's award winners are all very significant contributions to the pork production industry and are all deserving winners.”

The F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production is an opportunity for the industry to recognise those individuals who have developed either original solutions to pork production challenges or creative uses of known technology. They are named after the late Dr Frank Aherne, a professor of swine nutrition and production at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a major force for science-based progress in the western Canadian pork industry.

“The legacy of Dr Aherne was innovation,” explained Dr Dyck. “These awards in his name are an important recognition of those who fit the spirit of his innovative thinking and the service to the industry that he represented.”

Mr Gerbrandt received the award for his invention of unique, livestock-friendly loading plates for finishing farms, which are used throughout the Puratone corporate farm system. The loading plates are designed to lessen the stress of loading market hogs to ship to the packer. The loading plates are designed to swing out towards the loading ramp to funnel the hogs through the loading ramp. This avoids piling up caused by pigs hitting the walls on either side of the ramp.

Sunterra’s Mr Heptonstall earned the prize for his invention of a tail docking length guide for farrowing. The guide improved consistency of application of protocols and supported better communication between farrowing and finishing departments, which in turn supported improved production efficiency. The guide also supports overall high standards of animal care.

The recognition for Mary Haugh and Peter Jones of LMR Inc. was for their invention of the ‘Longarm’, a uniquely designed animal handling tool that requires up to 70 per cent less time to clear a pen. It supports easier, faster and safer animal handling.

Held since 1972 in Banff, Alberta, the Banff Pork Seminar is coordinated by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, in cooperation with Alberta Pork, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and other pork industry representatives from across Canada.

Winners of the F.X. Aherne award for innovative pork production at the 2012 include, left to right, Dale Heptonstall, Garrett Gerbrandt, Michael Dyck (Chair of the Aherne award committee) and Mary Haugh and Peter Jones

Further Reading

- You can view other articles from the Banff Pork Seminar 2012 by clicking here.