“Let’s sharpen our pencil” — Clint Schwab, Ph.D.
How did you become involved in the swine industry?
The swine industry has been part of my life since I was born ─ I grew up on a purebred seedstock operation in Colorado. My father and grandfather raised Yorkshire and Spotted commercial seedstock and sold them through an annual production sale. For as long as I can remember, I have been involved and had an interest in the swine industry, particularly with genetics.
Raising pigs is in my roots.
During my time as an undergrad at Colorado State, my advisor took me under his wing and encouraged me to take some graduate classes in genetics. I had always been interested in swine genetics, but that was when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in it.
Shortly after, I pursued my masters and doctorate degree in animal genetics at Iowa State University. With my degree and my background in the seedstock industry, I landed my first role with the National Swine Registry (NSR).
While at NSR, we had the good fortune of working with The Maschhoffs through the early stages of their genetic program. During these interactions, Dr. Bradley Wolter recruited me to join The Maschhoffs.
How has the team ensured Acuity Genetics to be where it is today?
When I first joined the Maschhoffs’ team, the intent for the genetics program was for internal use only. It was an area of innovation for the business. As the project grew, it became obvious that there was an opportunity to offer the program externally as Acuity.
This opportunity would not have been possible without the dedication and value brought by each of our team members. Together, we were able to challenge each other, share perspectives, and build the foundation for Acuity. The geneticists, the research team, the nutrition team, the tech support programs, all of it. Their leadership led to many of the early achievements of the program, and established a foundation to continue to build upon.
Our external partners are also a key part in the process ─ by working together, we have been able to grow a collaborative network of resources, information and data to help each other and ultimately the industry as a whole. These partnerships add perspective and accountability to Acuity’s development process as well.
How would you describe Acuity Genetics and what makes it unique?
Acuity was born within a commercial system, and as a result, is designed to effectively impact a commercial system. We can talk about the technology we use and platforms such as the commercial test herd, but at our core, we’re taking the age-old methods of selective breeding and adapting it to fit the specific needs of today’s commercial producer to bring value where it matters — in the new generation of commercial pigs.
To expect an improvement at the commercial level, make breeding decisions based on data from the commercial level.
Making genetic improvements generationally is a patient process. We understand that. We have lived it. We have created a system to help speed that process up for producers that can’t afford to take the 15 years it took us. The value is not only in the genetic resources we bring to the table, but also in the time being saved in getting you where you want to go with your herd, in a scalable manner.
Where do you see Acuity Genetics going?
In years to come, Acuity will establish a network of partners with proven, completed examples of our value proposition. For us, our goal is not simply units sold. We are not looking to push you a product. We want to continue iterating on the success we have demonstrated and continue to grow the delivered value experienced by our commercial partners.