Prof. James F. Lowe, DVM, MS, DABVP (Food Animal)

Production Animal Consultation LLC, Mahomet, USA
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana, USA

KEYNOTE SESSION - How to deal with large crisis?

"Impact of great crisis on the pig sector"
Wednesday, 11th May 2022

Dr. Lowe is an educator, advisor, researcher, and farmer based in Illinois. He is a managing member of a Production Animal Consultation, LLC and is an Associate Professor and Director of the i-Learning Center in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois. He holds a DVM and MS from the University of Illinois and spent most the last 27 years working in and with red meat production systems in the US and internationally.


It seems that the world lurches from one crisis to the next. Unfortunately, the pig sector has not been immune from crises: disease outbreaks, low market prices, high grain costs, and labor shortages, to name a few. Why do these crises keep happening? Are they under our control? Has the pig sector brought crises on itself? Are there alternative business models that would keep us from moving from one crisis to another? This presentation explores these questions by investigating recent crises in the pig sector. Specifically, how industry structure both promoted an epidemic of PEDV in the United States and led to the most profitable year on record for U.S. pork producers, how COVID has impacted production and harvest operations, animal and human wellbeing, and profitability of the pig sector, and how bottlenecks in the market, both foreseen and unforeseen, have impacted the pork sector. The interactions between the underlying market, engineering, and human factors are explored in each example. Lessons from past crises suggest that redesigning business models to increase supply chain coordination, decrease operational interdependence, and shift measurement systems from lagging to prospective indicators would decrease the frequency and severity of crises in the pig sector.