The Acuity Story- Access exclusive details regarding this newly launched Swine Genetics company

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Get in the “Swineweb” with Acuity Swine Genetics. This newly launched swine genetics company owned by the Maschhhoff’s exudes industry excitement with cutting edge technology to revolutionize the Industry. Learn more below with our interview with Justin Fix;  Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement.

 

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
In 2003, Bradley Wolter, Ph.D., CEO of The Maschhoffs, began exploring the opportunity to create a portfolio of swine genetic solutions aimed at meeting the increasing needs of a pig production system. Now in 2020 Acuity is finally launched. What do Producers need to know about the process and how you got to this point? What were the challenges, and how does it feel to finally launch?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
While the official launch of Acuity is new, the process behind the launch did not happen overnight. There have been years of development, with many wins and losses along the way. We got to this point through diligence and a continued desire to bring value to the swine industry. We are excited to bring our offerings to the marketplace and are eager to move forward with partners within the swine industry. I say this with a strong realization that both societally and in the swine industry, there is a lot of turmoil; however, we are excited for the future and eager to move forward.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
The most recent news this week was that Acuity announced the strategic selection of the company’s genetic partner: Topigs Norsvin. Can you walk us through that, and what this means for you and customers?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
Acuity and Topigs Norsvin have worked together through our common customer, The Maschhoffs for a number of years. Through this interaction, we realized we have a similar approach to delivering value to our customers. The collaboration allows us to both bring strengths to the relationship, both from a technical and supply standpoint. Ultimately, this means more value to our customers.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Your belief is Refined production characteristics that drive performance. For example, Acuity pigs get up on feed quickly after weaning. Can you explain this in more detail and give some of examples of refined production characteristics?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
Understanding the pig needs to perform in the commercial environment, from the boar stud to the packing plant, drives our daily decisions and focus on value creation. Awareness of the commercial producers’ perspective and what their daily pains are, allows us to collect, measure and drive value in traits that directly impact their day-to-day production.

Since early days of Acuity, we have tailored a data collection platform focused on measuring commercial performance. We call this our Commercial Test Herd, where single sire matings are made at commercial sow farms with our nucleus sires, before they are used in the nucleus. These matings are used to measure the genetic impact on boar fertility; the individually tagged pigs are tracked for mortality, defects, growth and composition through the packing plant. Unlike others, we collect pen feed conversion by sire to drive progress in feed efficiency. All of these data serve as the foundation for our genetic improvement and a platform for validation of our genetic progress.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Can you talk about your core genetic principles, values and the key things that make you different and stand out among your competitors?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
There are a number of good genetic products on the market today. We’ve worked with them and have a lot of respect for them.  Our biggest difference is what is at the core of Acuity: delivering value to the commercial level. We are not the only ones with a commercial test herd or utilizing commercial data in our genetic evaluation, but we believe our perspective and understanding of system value differentiates our genetic solutions. For us, it is not about a transactional genetic relationship, it’s about a deep desire to understand where and how genetic solutions can be implemented through a partnership. Future value created through growing that partnership is what drives us every day.  To accomplish this, it starts with genetic resources (lines/populations), combined with a commercial measurement system to ensure a systems perspective, and technologies to accelerate delivery to the end user.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Can we talk about your product line? The Acuity Duroc, which competes head to head with the world’s best terminal lines. Can you explain the specifics of this product and benefit to Producers? If possible, please also explain the benefits of the Acuity Yorkshire and the Acuity Landrace?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
Our Duroc is selected and validated in commercially relevant production systems on a daily basis. We demand this animal performs across a variety of production environments and packer grids. How did we get to where we are today? For a number of years, we have driven growth and efficiency based on carcass information – ensuring the commercial progeny of our Duroc will meet and exceed expectations from fertility to nursery start-up through packer yield.

In a similar approach, our Yorkshire and Landrace females are pushed to be user friendly products at the sow farm, which deliver leading wean-to-market performance.  However, it is not lost on us that the female has a big impact on finisher performance as well – so she is selected in a way that maximizes value from an integrated viewpoint.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Can you explain your systems-based foundation?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):

Within a commercial system, value can be created from the boar stud to the packing plant, with many inputs along the way. Exploring all parts of the system for areas to create value allow for a broader perspective on genetic improvement. It is not just about weaning more pigs or efficiency through this finisher – it requires an understanding of all the other aspects that create the sum of the individual parts.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Where do you see the Genetics Industry in five years, and what are you working on to keep up those trends through R&D for the long-term benefit of Pork Producers?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
Advancements in technology are impacting all aspects of our lives and the swine industry. Movement is clearly faster in some segments than others, but these advancements will have dramatic impacts to genetic improvement. With that said, it is difficult to speak to exactly what that will look like. We will have better phenotyping options (sensors, cameras, etc), computational power (genotyping), and reproductive technologies (genetic dissemination) to name a few.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Can you explain how you came up with the Acuity name?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
As with any naming exercise, there is a process to generating options. Through this, one option was the word Acuity, which is defined as sharpness of thought or synonyms such as accuracy, precision. We believe Acuity embodies the characteristics that make us unique – both in how the Acuity program is built as well as how we approach improvement.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Customer service, we find that is one of the top key’s in personalized and long-term customer satisfaction. What are your strategies to make this a core competency and how will you excel at this?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
Our Core Values speak to this question. We believe delivering value to our partners in a way that allows for a partnership to grow for years to come. We must deliver increasing value through innovation and will hold ourselves accountable to our partner realizing demonstrable value where it matters to them. This requires open and direct communication to ensure we are providing what the customer wants and responding when we are not meeting expectations. In the end, it’s a commitment to ensure that trust and accountability are the foundations to how we partner with pork producers.

Question (Jim Eadie from Swineweb.com):
Expansion. Do you have plans to offer Genetics beyond the United States? If so where and what is the timeline?

Answer (Justin Fix; Director, Business Development and Genetic Improvement from Acuity Genetics):
It is a global swine industry with tremendous growth in technology adaptation throughout the world. I say that, as a precursor to my answer – yes, we will focus on partnering with global production companies. We are not trying to be all things to all people, but where the relationships makes sense for both entities to be better because of the interaction, we will pursue those opportunities.


Dr Clint Schwab, President of Acuity Genetics

 

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