Ensminger program partners with the Pig Breeders Society of South Africa

May 30, 2019

Ensminger groupBack (L-R), Dr. Benny Mote- UNL, Max Rothschild, Christa Dry, Dr. Billy Flowers - NCSU, Dr. Danie Visser, Mr. De Wet Boshoff

Front (L-R), Dr. John Patiences, Dr. Christy Bratcher - Auburn University, Dr. Anna Johnson, Dr. Nick Gabler.

May 23-24th marked the first-ever Ensminger conference held in Africa. The conference took place in Johannesburg in partnership with the Pig Breeders Society of South Africa and was in honor of their 100-year anniversary. This event was jointly sponsored by Iowa State University and South Africa. Dr. Max Rothschild, Ensminger Chair, worked with the host country to help organize the event.

Over 270 people from South Africa and many other countries attended the 2-day conference. Four ISU animal science faculty were speakers: Drs. Max Rothschild, John Patience, Anna Johnson and Nick Gabler. Other faculty included Dr. Benny Mote from the University of Nebraska, Dr. Billy Flowers from the North Carolina State University and Dr. Christy Bratcher from Auburn University. Presentation topics included genetics and genomics, reproduction, behavior, nutrition, meat quality and a view of future challenges to pork production. A banquet honoring the PBSSA was held where Dr. Rothschild received an international award for his efforts to improve pig breeding in Africa.


In addition to the conference, the South African hosts took the speakers to a goat cheese facility and to two livestock farms with pigs, goats, sheep and cape buffalo. Due to strict bio-security, visitors were not allowed in paddocks or with the animals. The hosts also arranged for a trip to a beautiful game park where the speakers saw many animals including lions, elephants, cape buffalo and rhinos. Speakers and their hosts also visited an elephant rehabilitation center.


The conference was deemed a huge success and many new contacts were made to help internationalize faculty and to share knowledge and recruit future graduate students and visitors.