Podcast: Global perspectives on labour and animal health

Podcast: Global perspectives on labour and animal health

In this 47th episode of the Real P3 podcast, global swine consultant, Todd Thurman, discussed the 2 main issues he finds that producers worldwide face: labour and animal health.

The Real P3 podcast series is an initiative where pork professionals from around the globe share their thoughts, insights, and solutions to their day-to-day challenges in the pig farming and production industry.

Globe trotter

Todd Thurman has (officially) been in the industry since graduating in 1999. During his career, he relocated from the US to Russia for 2 years. There he was the consulting general manager on a project that started up a 25,000 sow system, becoming one of the largest pork production systems in the country. More international trips followed where he focused on improving capabilities around pig farm productivity and management. About 5 years ago he launched his own international consulting business, with a particular focus on Asia.

Obvious opportunities and a shift in perspective

Having worked with so many pig producers around the world, Dr Casey Bradley asked Thurman what he has identified as the most prominent problem. So many challenges, he said, revolve around either labour or animal health.

In China, he highlighted the major shift toward urbanisation, and an increase in the cost of labour. He also shared his thoughts on creative strategies to address labour issues. “We need a shift in perspective,” he said, and discussed the competitive advantage of those most well prepared for the future are those with a focus on people. He added that “obvious opportunities” exist for companies to “open their minds to non-traditional working schedules”.

An example of a radical, extreme approach was taken by a company in the Philippines which “seems like a dumb move” but attracted the “cream of the crop” and everyone wanted to work for them.

In terms of health, Thurman knows that “producers get sick and tired of hearing it”, but that biosecurity remains the most valuable tool to protect from disease and is “the one thing that you can do to have the best return on investments”.

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Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist