Invited Speakers


Joseph Kerns
Partners for Production Agriculture

Joe has over thirty years of experience working w with livestock producers and allied industry members in 13 states. Clients include packers, producers, veterinarians, researchers, mill operators, and feed ingredient suppliers. He often serves as a keynote speaker for industry events on topics such as commodity markets, nutritional factors impacting production, operational sustainability, leadership, and enterprise ownership. Joe is an alumnus of Iowa State and enjoys spending time with Laura and the kids.

Presentation: Economics & Market Outlooks
Wednesday Morning Plenary

Arnold Drung
Conestoga Meat Packers Ltd.

Arnold Drung is President of Conestoga Meat Packers Ltd., a processor of fresh pork located in Breslau, Ontario. He joined Conestoga in 2002 as General Manager and has been in his current position since 2009. The company is owned by Progressive Pork Producers Co-operative Inc. and is supplied by its 157 hog farmer members who are all located in Southwestern Ontario. The company employs over 1,400 and is a major exporter of pork products. Prior to joining Conestoga, Arnold held positions with J.M. Schneider Inc., McNeil Consumer Products and Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, primarily in the marketing and business unit management areas, and also worked in the consulting field. Raised in the Kitchener area, he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and subsequently completed a Masters in Business Administration, also from Laurier. Arnold and his wife Cheri reside in West Montrose, Ontario. Arnold is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Meat Council, Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, and Enova Energy Corporation, along with a number of other non-profit boards.

Presentation: The Canadian Pork Industry: An Integrated Processor’s View
Wednesday Morning Plenary

Sylvain Charlebois
Dalhousie University

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a Professor in food distribution and policy in the Faculties of Management and Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is also the Senior Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab, also located at Dalhousie University. He is as well the former Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. While at the University of Guelph, he was also the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Business and Economics. Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. He is one of the world’s most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability. He has authored five books on global food systems, his most recent one published in 2017 by Wiley-Blackwell entitled “Food Safety, Risk Intelligence and Benchmarking”. He has also published over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles in several academic publications. Furthermore, his research has been featured in several newspapers and media groups, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, NBC, ABC, Fox News, Foreign Affairs, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star. Dr. Charlebois sits on a few company boards, and supports many organizations as a special advisor, including some publicly traded companies. He also has done some work on social licensing, which include public trust assessments and risk communication evaluations. Charlebois is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Business Scientific Institute, based in Luxemburg. He conducts policy analysis, evaluation, and demonstration projects for government agencies and major foundations focusing on agricultural policies and community development both in Canada and in development settings. Dr. Charlebois is a member of the Global Food Traceability Centre’s Advisory Board based in Washington DC, and a member of the National Scientific Committee of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Ottawa. He has testified on several occasions before parliamentary committees on food policy-related issues as an expert witness. He has been asked to act as an advisor on food and agricultural policies in many Canadian provinces, in the United States, Brazil, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, China, Great Britain, Finland and the Netherlands.   

Presentation: Food Sustainability
Thursday Mor
ning Plenary

Marty Seymour
Carbon RX

Marty Seymour is the CEO of Carbon RX, a carbon credit origination and streaming corporation. As a farm kid from Saskatchewan, Marty has had an eclectic career of building business with some notable assignments that included international trade missions to support Canadian beef exports to Australia, South East Asia, and the US. He was instrumental in the national movement to support public trust in Canadian Agriculture during his time at FCC and was one of the architects of Canada’s Agriculture Day, a national celebration of the Canadian food system. He has had various roles in First Nations economic development and actively works with First Nations leadership to advance local interests in carbon and land management in his role at Carbon RX. A diehard champion of Canadian Agriculture, Marty sits on the University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors and was recently received recognition as one of Canada’s Top 50 in Canadian Agriculture by Canadian Western Agribition as well the Queens Platinum Jubilee medal for is contributions to the industry.

Presentation: Lessons I Learned the Hard Way About Carbon
Thursday Morning Plenary

Jason Shaw
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

Jay Shaw is the Deputy Chief of Safety, Emergency Management and Public Information with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.  Jay has more than 25 years experience in emergency services and health care, serving as an operational firefighter and paramedic for the Department of National Defense and the City of Winnipeg. He has had a wide array of emergency response and health care experiences from flying under helicopters and working in hospital emergency rooms to covering 9/11 for major news papers and trade magazines. Shaw was responsible for developing the cities Office of Emergency Management in 2017 and has led the City of Winnipeg through several major disasters and emergencies. Jay has delivered keynotes and conference presentations across North America as was recently the Cities Incident Commander for World Police Fire games held in Winnipeg in 2023. Jay holds an MA in Disaster and Emergency Management studies and has numerous diplomas and certificates related to healthcare, emergency services, and disaster management. Jay graduated in 2020 from Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative studying Crisis Leadership and has recently completed the International Association of Fire Chief’s Executive Development Institute program.

Presentation: Leading Through Crisis - Supporting Best Practices
Closing Plenary


Jay Squire

Jay grew up on his family’s farm in southwestern Ontario. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a Master’s Degree in Animal Nutrition in 2004, and has worked as a nutritionist serving Ontario’s swine farmers for progressive nutrition companies ever since.  Jay lives with his wife and four children on their beef and grain farm near Lucan, Ontario and, for years, has volunteered with Swine Health Ontario and the Ontario Pork Industry Council – organizations focused on bettering the viability and sustainability of Ontario’s pork industry.

Presentation: Food & Fuel Industry Co-Products: Considerations for Swine Nutrition Programs
Breakout 1: Feed & Nutrition

Dan Columbus
Prairie Swine Centre

Dr. Dan Columbus is a Research Scientist in Nutrition at Prairie Swine Centre and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan. His research focuses on the impact of health on nutrient utilization and requirements, early-life nutrition and development, and the use of alternative feedstuffs and feeding management. He has served as Western Director for the Canadian Society of Animal Science and as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Animal Science and Amino Acids.  He has recently become the co-host of the newly-launched Swine it Canada Podcast Show.  Dr. Columbus is involved in both undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentorship and has provided training to more than 30 HQP including undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral fellows, and research assistants.  He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications, 100 conference abstracts and papers, and 30 industry publications and has given more than 30 presentations and interviews.  He was the 2019 recipient of the Canadian Society of Animal Science Young Scientist Award and the 2021 Sask Pork Award of Distinction for Excellence in Production Research.

Presentation: Amino Acids as Functional Nutrients for Pig Health
Breakout 1: Feed & Nutrition

Mike Tokach
Kansas State University

Dr. Mike Tokach is a University Distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State University. Tokach joined K-State in 1991 and, as a swine nutrition researcher and extension specialist, is an author on more than 450 articles in scientific journals, 11 book chapters and more than 1,200 extension and non-refereed articles. Tokach has received more than $24 million in research grants and gifts. He also has been awarded seven patents for his research and has given more than 360 invited lectures at national and international conferences. Tokach has also advised and mentored over 120 advanced-degree students and visiting professors since joining the university. Mike’s wife Lisa also specializes in Swine as a veterinarian. Together, they have three children, Sage, Rogan, and Fiona.

Presentation: Nutrition & Management of Weaned Pigs Fed Low Zinc Diets
Breakout 2: Piglet Management
Presentation Slides PDF

Luc Dufresne
Demeter Veterinary Services (Swine Veterinary Partners)

Luc Dufresne graduated from the University of Montreal in 1988 and joined Shur-gain as a Veterinarian or 1988-1997. He then joined Brown’s of Carolina (Smithfield foods) as the Director of Vet services from 1997-2002. From 2002-2004 he served at Technical Service Director with PIC before moving to Seaboard Foods’ Senior Director of Veterinary Services from 2004-2023. Luc is now a Veterinarian with Swine Veterinary Partners. In 2014 he recieved the Al Leman Science in Practice Award from the University of Minnesota, and was awarded Swine Veterinarian of the Year from American Association of Swine Veterinarian in 2016.

Presentation: Weaning Age Impact on Piglet & Sow Performance - Is Higher Always Better?
Breakout 2: Piglet Management
Presentation Slides PDF

Matthew Rooda

Matthew Rooda co-founded SwineTech to provide pork producers with workforce and swine management solutions that increase the quality of care provided for pigs everywhere. Rooda has led the SwineTech team through the Pearse Lyons Accelerator in Ireland, raised more than $8 million in venture capital, and managed business development efforts in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. In addition to being named one of the most influential innovators in animal agriculture, Matthew continues to share the possibilities of a brighter future by connecting producers and consumers through the Popular Pig podcast.

Presentation: Point of Care Using Real Time Data in Sow Barn
Breakout 3: Technology
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Steve Dziver
Commodity Professionals

Steve Dziver is the owner and president of Commodity Professionals, a consulting firm based in Winnipeg, Manitoba focused on agribusiness risk and margin management. Steve has spent the last 22 years specializing in livestock and grain risk management providing services to independent farm organizations and corporate businesses across Canada and the US Midwest. Steve grew up on a grain farm in rural Manitoba before moving to Winnipeg where he acquired a Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Agriculture and designation with the Canadian Securities Institute. Most of Steve’s time is focused on supporting individual producers by providing them with tools to make well-informed decisions. Steve is highly involved in price discovery and negotiations of specific commodities including isoweans and feeder pigs, market hogs, feed stuffs and field crops. Steve continues to be actively involved in the exploration for improved pricing methodology for grain and livestock producers.

Presentation: ProHog Management – A Refresh on Margin
Breakout 3: Technology
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Tom Rathje
DNA Genetics

Tom Rathje currently serves in the role of Chief Technical Officer at DNA Genetics LLC, Columbus, NE. A native of Iowa, he grew up in Clinton on a diversified cattle and cropping operation. Tom received his B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University (1989), and his M.S. (1991) and PhD. (1995) in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the University of Nebraska where he currently holds an adjunct professorship in the Department of Animal Science.

Presentation: What is Genomic Selection & What Has Been Its Impact On Current Genetics
Breakout 5: Genomics

Egbert Knol
Topigs Norsvin

Former Research Director for Topigs Norsvin, Egbert handed over responsibilities to Eli Grindflek 3 months ago. Egbert is now quartermaster for the future of Topigs Norsvin, setting up a research structure in Canada, formalizing diverse collaboration efforts and continuing to build a student scouting and developing program. Egbert has a PhD in ‘genetics of piglet survival‘, and participated in the rise and shine of genomic selection. Egbert will focus on the biology of the pig, on how genetic variation influences the performance of a single pig.

Presentation: Individual SNP Effects & Interesting Applications in Pig Breeding
Breakout 5: Genomics

Jack Dekkers
Iowa State University

Jack C. M. Dekkers is a C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor at in the Department of Animal Science of Iowa State University. Dr. Dekkers grew up in the Netherlands and received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Wageningen Agricultural University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Animal Breeding. From 1989 to 1997 he was on faculty at the University of Guelph, working closely with the Canadian industry on genetic improvement of dairy cattle. He moved to Iowa State University in 1997 and led the Department’s Animal Breeding and Genetics group from 2012 to 2021. Current research focuses on the genetics of health and resilience in pigs and poultry, integration of biological models in genetic evaluation, and on the design of breeding programs using genomics.

Presentation: Indicators & Genetics of Disease Resilience
Breakout 5: Genomics

Dan Bussières
Groupe Cérès Inc.

Dan Bussières, a swine nutritionist graduated in 1996 from Laval University in Quebec, and his partner, founded Groupe Cérès Inc. in 2004. This company, based in Lévis, specializes in all areas of swine production. Groupe Ceres service offer includes consulting services in swine production, production and distribution of breeding stock and sales of nutritional products. Groupe Ceres is also involved in swine production managing a net work that produce over 250 000 pigs annually and has been since 2020 a partner in CBCo Alliance a pork packing plant to process about 500 000 pig/year. Dan works on the development and monitoring of nutrition programs for swine producers all over Canada. Group Cérès Inc. and its affiliates influence the feeding of more than 5.5 million pigs annually, which include the supervision of the nutrition and R&D for HyLife, one of the top 2 swine producers in Canada. Dan is working with many industry partners to conduct field research projects which aim at developing new feed programs in order to optimize the performances of pig, their profitability and to improve meat quality. He has done many presentations for producer meeting or at different conference/seminar in swine production. Groupe Cérès Inc. and its numerous business partners are committed to continue working with Canadian producers.

Presentation: Feeding & Management of Grow-Finish Pigs
Breakout 6: Grow-Finish Management
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Ken Engele
Prairie Swine Centre

Ken currently is the Manager of Knowledge Transfer at the Prairie Swine Centre.  His role focuses on extension, specifically focused on bringing research results to the Canadian pork industry.  Responsibilities include delivering the knowledge transfer plan through multiple forms that include print, personal, electronic and on-farm demonstration. Additionally he assists with the development and analysis of an economic model that evaluates the payback to research, along the risk management program at the Centre. Ken has spent 20 years in the Canadian pork industry in the areas of research and commercial production he is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan.

Presentation: Taking Care of Basics
Breakout 6: Grow-Finish Management
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Willem Steyn
SwiNE Nutrition

Willem Steyn is a distinguished Nutritionist and the Founder and Owner of SwiNE Nutrition Management Pty Ltd, a reputable nutrition consultancy company based in South Africa and The Netherlands. With a profound passion for animal nutrition and an extensive international network, he has devoted his career in aiding pig farmers in unleashing the genetic potential of their livestock. Willem’s expertise and substantial contributions have left an indelible mark on the agricultural sector, with a distinct focus on the swine industry. Willem obtained a Master of Science Degree in Animal Nutrition from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in 2010 and a Master’s degree in Business Administration acquired at TIAS School for Business and Society, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Presentation: Effect of Space Allowance & Marketing Strategy on Production Performance of Grower-Finisher Pigs
Breakout 6: Grow-Finish Management
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Jayne Jackson

Jayne Jackson is the Product and Sales Manager for PigCHAMP, Inc. located in Ames, Iowa. with 32+ years of experience working with Swine Management Systems and development of new product lines. As part of the product role, she works closely with producers to create new PigCHAMP features and products that provide the value that meets today’s industry and customer needs. With access to the PigCHAMP Benchmark Database she has the unique opportunity to provide insight into the industry to help guide PigCHAMP clients forward in their overall production. Jayne is amember of the Story County Pork Board for the past 6 years and currently holds the secretary position. Jayne lives in Ames, Iowa with her husband of 32+ years and is an avid Iowa State Football fan.

Presentation: Where Have All the Gilts Gone? The Impact of Mortality & Removals on Gilt Retention
Breakout 7: Sow Management
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Bruno Silva
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Professor Bruno Silva has a degree in animal science from the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Brazil), and a Masters in Animal bioclimatology at the same institution. Received his PhD in animal bioclimatology and swine nutrition from the Universidade Federal de ViçosaUFV (Brazil) and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRAE (France) and a post - doctorate in swine nutrition from Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Brazil). Worked as a researcher (Institute for Pig Genetics IPG bv, Netherlands) and swine nutritionist for TOPIGS Norsvin International. Currently, is a professor and researcher in Swine Nutrition and Production and Environmental Adaptation at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG, Brazil). Has several publications and international conferences in the field of nutritional requirements and environmental adaptation of pigs in tropical regions. He is also an associate editor of the international scientific journal "Animal: An International Journal of Animal Bioscience" and a reviewer for several international Journals. Next to the university activities he is also a consultant for several multinational companies in the field of ​​swine nutrition and environmental adaptation for Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Presentation: Nutrition and Feeding Behaviour of High Producing Sows in the Age of Global Warming
Breakout 7: Sow Management
Presentation Slides (PDF)

PJ Corns
JBS Live Pork

PJ Corns is the Director of Sow Production for JBS Live Pork, Greeley, CO. Responsible for nearly 240,000 sows, boar studs and gilt development units across the Midwest. PJ has spent his entire career forging world class results with every step from managing large sow units in North Carolina, to working internationally with PIC and his own consultancy firm where his involvement in well over 2 million sows was driven by delivering results based upon proven protocols, system maximization, people development and biosecurity implementation and execution. PJ joined JBS in his current role in September, 2021. Besides the family’s Century Farm near What Cheer Iowa that includes row crops and wean to finish operations, PJ resides with his with wife and family in Ames, Iowa.

Presentation: Prop 12 Sow Management - Lessons Learned
Breakout 7: Sow Management

Brad Chappell
Topigs Norsvin

Dr. Brad Chappell works with Topigs Norsvin Canada as Director of Veterinary Services, based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. In his role, he is responsible for all Topigs Norsvin health programs at both the nucleus and multiplication levels in Canada. Previously, Dr. Chappell was a swine practitioner and partner at Swine Health Professionals in Manitoba.

Presentation: Internal Biosecurity - Is There Value For You?
Breakout 8: Health
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Matt Ackerman
Pork Vet Solutions

Dr. Matt Ackerman grew up on a small grain and livestock farm around Peoria, IL.  He attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and graduated with a BS in Agricultural Sciences in 1992 and a DVM in 1995. Since graduating, he has worked in private swine consulting practice.  In July 2016, he opened his own practice named Pork Veterinary Solutions. Pork Veterinary Solutions is currently a two-veterinarian practice that over sees the annual production of approximately 1.5 million pigs (about 1% of US production).  The emphasis of the practice is on establishing preventative herd health programs and interpreting production and economic records for commercial swine farms. Dr. Ackerman and his wife Missy have 3 children.

Presentation: Update on Sapovirus - An Industry Perspective
Breakout 8: Health

Richard Rusk
Rusk Medical Corporation

Richard Rusk received his Bachelor’s degree of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 1992 and came to Canada to practice as a large animal veterinarian in Alberta and Manitoba. He then went on to receive his Medical Doctors degree in 2005 from University of Manitoba. He specialised in Public Health with an emphasis on Zoonotic diseases. He worked as a Medical Officer of Health for the Health Ministry in Manitoba, where he ran the CDC unit for many years and was cross-appointed as the Chief Occupational Medical Officer for Manitoba for 2 years. He was heavily involved with the COVID and H1N1 pandemics and the Ebola response. He now has a private consulting company that supports the agri-food industry and large corporations in dealing with disease prevention and the health and wellness of their employees, with a mantra of “One Health guidance for a healthier future world”. In his spare time, he works in a community medicine practice, helps with teaching medical students and does triathlon.

Presentation: Streptococcus zooepidemicus Impact on the Hog Industry
Breakout 8: Health
Presentation Slides (PDF)

Glen Duizer
Manitoba Agriculture

Dr Glen Duizer is the Animal Health Surveillance Veterinarian with Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Office. He has held the position since 2005, with primary roles in animal health surveillance, disease response, veterinary extension and regulatory medicine. Dr Duizer is the lead veterinarian for province’s animal health investigation and surveillance programs, coordinating detection and response to reportable and emerging animal diseases in Manitoba. Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in numerous regional and national animal health networks, developing and implementing programs and approaches for animal health surveillance, emergency response, disease control and disease modeling. He has also held a variety of roles in multidisciplinary teams responding to animal disease outbreaks in Manitoba and Western Canada. Dr Duizer graduated from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in 1995. He completed a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology from the same university in 2015. Prior to joining Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Office, he spent 10 years in food animal practice, focusing primarily on dairy, but including work in the beef and swine sectors. 

Presentation: Blisters, Exports & Foreign Animal Disease Reporting- The Unexpected Impacts of Seneca Valley Virus
Breakout 8: Health
Presentation Slides (PDF)