Talbert Wins Morrison Swine Innovator Prize for Second Time

University of Minnesota veterinary professor Perle Zhitnitskiy, DVM, MSpVM, congratulates Morrison Swine Innovator Prize winner Zack Talbert, a University of Illinois veterinary student, in 2019. Talbert took home the prize again in 2020 and was honored virtually during the online conference. ( University of Minnesota )

After turning heads at the 2019 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference with Bio-Barrier 360, a new twist to currently failing fumigation rooms, Zack Talbert went home to make his prize-winning product even better in 2020.

“After presenting the Bio-Barrier 360 and speaking to others in the swine industry, I realized there were limitations to the product. Many hours of brainstorming and working with my dad and brother led to the creation of the Biosecurity Box,” Talbert says.

The Biosecurity Box can hold items of all sizes making it a universal disinfectant product. Talbert ran a few unofficial coverage studies looking at the box’s ability to cover all surfaces of the items being disinfected. 

“I realized the potential of the Biosecurity Box which led to a research study using live PEDv and a pig bioassay,” he explains. “In the research, I tested three different fogging methods and their ability to eliminate fomites. Ultimately, the Biosecurity Box was the superior method in fomite elimination.”

Talbert, a fourth-year University of Illinois veterinary student, says he used the money from last year’s prize to help purchase supplies and cover travel costs while pursuing the creation of the Biosecurity Box. He credits Craig Steen with JBI Distributors for his role in sponsoring the study using the Biosecurity Box.

“With the prize winnings from this year’s competition, I plan to continue to find ways to benefit the swine industry through science, innovation and ingenuity. I enjoy finding new ways to benefit not only the pigs in the facility, but the people involved in the swine industry. This is my passion and I look forward to using this money in a way to benefit the industry as a whole,” Talbert says. 

Although Talbert missed being at the conference in person this year, he was impressed with how well the online conference was and looks forward to attending again in 2021. 

This is the third year of this competition and the third year for a University of Illinois vet student to bring home the top prize of $5,000 plus complimentary registration and travel costs to attend the Leman Swine Conference. The prize honors the legacy of the late Bob Morrison, DVM, PhD, MBA, who coordinated the conference for many years. 

“From being a part of this competition, I learned that hard work pays off, innovation is important for progression, and the swine industry has a lot of bright individuals coming its way,” Talbert says.

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