EcoSocial Swine Fever
R.D. "Bob" von Bernuth
The Alumni of the School of Agriculture at the University of Minnesota have endowed a chair in agricultural systems through the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences. They intended occupancy of the chair to be of short durationone week to one yeardepending on the task being undertaken. The first occupants of the chair are Pat Henderson, a Marketing and Communications consultant from Minneapolis; Carmen Fernholz, a high school teacher and hog producers from Madison, MN; and Bob von Bernuth, professor in Biosystems Engineering and director of manure management programs at Michigan State University. The focus of the three (now known as the bench) has been on economic, social and environmental issues in swine production. The three looked at the swine industry overall, trends in production and consumption, and social issues as they relate to the swine industry. In the process, the bench interacted with many groups including commodity groups, university faculty, government officials, producers, and citizen action groups. The bench will summarize the findings of the first six months and will include an analysis of why the intense interest in the swine industry, the trends as they affect hog production, the need for balance among economic, environmental, and social interests, the impact on a typical small producer, consolidation in the industry, and the need to pay close attention to citizen action groups. Finally, we will present rationale for adopting policies that consider environmental issues and factor in social concerns but do not limit producers' opportunities to work together.