Ontario Farmer - April 24th, 2018
Byline: Frances Anderson
The Ontario Pork Industry Council singled out Bob Hunsberger for special recognition for his volunteer contributions to the swine industry, here at its annual general meeting.
Hunsberger has embodied the OPIC tag line ‘together, building a better pork industry’since he graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph, in agricultural economics, in 1968.
“It would be no exaggeration to say that Bob Hunsberger has been involved in some way in virtually every major swine industry-level initiative, probably dating back to the late 1970s,” said OPIC director, Al Mussell, when announcing the award.
This list of initiatives includes: being a founding member of OPIC; championing the George e Morris Centre, and serving as board treasurer; forming River Junction Management to provide strategic and management advice to producers; and working to establish the Progressive e Pork Producers (3P) Group, and acquire the producer-owned d packing plant that is now Conestoga Meat Packers Ltd.
Mussell said Hunsberger was a pioneer in the development and use of expert systems, ranging g from early computer models to optimize least-cost feed rations to farm business planning tools.
“Perhaps Bob’s biggest volunteer contribution has been as a peer and mentor to others in the pork industry. Many of us, in one way or another, have benefited from Bob taking us under his wing -and providing us with experience, advice, opportunity, or by exposing us to his network,” said Mussell, who now runs his own consulting firm Agri-Food Economic Systems.
Mussell added that Hunsberger is an unabashed “freemarketer” and a well-informed “climate change skeptic.”
Plus he has a sharp wit and dry sense of humour.
Hunsberger took the opportunity to remind OPIC members why Ontario is in the ideal location, in the lea of the Great Lakes, to raise hogs. It’s almost the same latitude as Iowa, but it’s one of the few places in the world where there’s a wide enough harvest window to make and store high moisture corn. (It dries down too fast in the mid-West, he said.)
“But what makes it fun - and makes it profitable, is the people,” he said, adding “many of whom chose to come here!” “Some of the best people in the pork industry in the world, farm and work in Ontario. It’s been a pleasure to be part of it. Thank you very much for the recognition,” he said.