Q. How will African swine fever shape the future of the pork industry?
A. It’s totally going to transform the industries in China and other southeast Asian countries that have been impacted by it the most. It will result in significant consolidation and modernization in those industries, and over a long period of time, greater self-sufficiency for pork in those countries. Recognizing and understanding what’s happening in those countries and who should be our export customers long-term is important. Domestically we’ve made some positive changes to improve biosecurity in the global trade space and global travel. When I think of all the things we import from China like amino acids, vitamins, organic soybean meal, I believe over time, there will be more self-sufficiency in the U.S. in some of those supply chains.
Q. Who inspires you today?
A. My mother just turned 99 and she taught me to have a great work ethic and to take care of others. I feel like a lot is expected of me because of all the gifts that God's given me, but especially because of my parents who really inspired me positively better than anyone could.
Q. What will the business look like 20 years from now?
A. We’ll continue to innovate; hopefully in a way that improves our industry and helps producers and processors. Our business will also consist of a more global footprint. By far the lion share of our sales and activity is in North America, but we are increasingly looking for expansion in other parts of the world. People look at the U.S. as the global leader. It’s natural to take some of our proven technologies here and sell them in other parts of the world.
Q. What advice do you have for someone who might like to do what you do someday?
A. Focus on serving producers, period. To me, it's about having a servant focus and focusing on your customers. If somebody was interested in filling my shoes here at NutriQuest, I would say you really need to live out our brand promise of “Ingenuity Inspired by Servitude.”
Q. Do you have any regrets?
A. When I was helping build the Iowa Select Farms business, there were days I wondered what I was doing back in Iowa in ag while some of my counterparts were killing it in the .com craze. But I have no regrets. I feel blessed to land in this space. I'm really passionate about the industry, Iowa and family, so being close to family in a state I love where hog production is the most important industry, it's just been a great fit.
PORK Perspectives is a recurring column that provides business and leadership strategy tips from some of the pork industry’s finest. Opinions expressed in this column are the opinions of Steve Weiss and do not represent the opinions of Farm Journal's PORK. Watch for future columns featuring advice and insights from more of the pork industry's leaders.
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