Eugenia Saini is currently FONTAGRO’s Executive Secretary. FONTAGRO is the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology. She leads the investment fund and a portfolio of 70 international operations related to science, technology, and innovation for the Latin America and the Caribbean region. She is from Argentina and is an agronomist by training. She holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences, specializing in total factor productivity analysis. One of her seminal works in this field was the estimation of 120 years of TFP for the agricultural sector in Argentina. She is also a National Public Accountant and holds an MS in Food and Agribusiness and an MS in Applied Economics, both from Universidad de Buenos Aires. She has worked in the private and public sectors, both nationally and internationally, especially in multilateral banks. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at Cornell University and, more recently, with the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) Scholarship at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
Healthy pigs improve productivity
January 30, 2019
This article appeared first in January 2018 on the website of Global Harvest Initiative, the previous host institution for the GAP Report.
In 1989 – just 30 years ago – the U.S. had to import pork in order to meet the growing demand from American consumers. Today, not only are hog farmers producing enough to meet domestic demand, nearly 26 percent of the pork produced in the U.S. is exported to more than 100 countries. 
In 2016, 41 percent of U.S. pork exports, worth $2 billion dollars, went to Canada and Mexico.
Decades of public agricultural research into animal health, herd management practices and feed grain production has translated into high pork productivity in the U.S.
Today it only takes 5 breeding hogs to produce the same amount of pork from 8 hogs in 1959. 
During that same time period, the amount of land required to produce 1,000 pounds of pork decreased by 78 percent. 
How is this possible? Feed for pigs is formulated to maximize nutrition, optimize growth and reduce levels of nitrogen in pork manure, so each pig produces more meat and less methane. Less land is needed to grow feed, thanks to higher yielding varieties of alfalfa, corn and soybeans.
These increases in productivity have reduced the carbon footprint of pork production to record lows. In fact, pork production in the U.S. today accounts for just 0.33 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 
Healthy hogs are the key
When pigs are healthy and well cared for, animal comfort and productivity improve.
Pork farmers are investing in “smart barns” that provide consistent temperatures and readily available feed and water. Use of precision data allows farmers to reduce energy use, save labor and protect pigs from disease.
Pork production companies are helping drive improvements in housing and animal care systems. Smithfield Foods, Inc. recently announced that it has fulfilled its industry-leading commitment of providing group housing systems for pregnant sows on all company-owned farms in the United States.
To see how group housing systems work, take a virtual tour of a Smithfield Foods Sow Farm.
In addition, Smithfield recommends that its contract sow growers transition to group housing by 2022. The company is providing guidance and expertise to help contract growers reach this target. Improving the animal husbandry skills of the farmers and transitioning to science-based housing will support the productivity and comfort of the animals.
For more about the Smithfield Animal Care Management System and compliance verification program, see the 2017 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®), pages 29-30.