Foreword

The National Swine Improvement Federation has, as its primary function, developing and implementing more uniform, effective, and coordinated swine improvement programs. Its members include, but are not limited to, seedstock producers, central test stations, swine testing organizations, A.I. studs, and other seedstock production and marketing groups.

Each year the Federation holds a conference and annual meeting during which the impact and application of swine breeding technology are reviewed and updated. The publication of the proceedings of these conferences serves to advance the Federation=s objective of improving genetic evaluation programs.

The 2003 conference and annual meeting was hosted by the Animal Breeding and Genetics Group of Iowa State University and held in Des Moines, IA, on December 4 and 5, 2003. The 2003 conference was be combined with a USDAIFAFS Industry Workshop on QTL mapping and Marker-Assisted Selection. The objective of this workshop was to update industry on methods for identification of and use of genes for economic traits in the pig and to present and discuss results from a collaborative Iowa State University University of Illinois research project on the Detection and Use of QTL for Meat Quality, using the Berkshire, Yorkshire, and Duroc breeds. This workshop and research were sponsored by a USDA-IFAFS grant (# 00-52100-9610), along with initial research funding from an industry consortium consisting of the National Pork Producers Council, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Purebred Swine Council, Babcock Genetics, Danbred USA, Monsanto Choice Genetics, PIC/Sygen, SeghersNewsham USA, and Shamrock Breeders, and represented a technology transfer activity of the NC-1004 CSREES Multistate Regional Research Project on Swine Breeding and Genetics.

The USDA-IFAFS Workshop was integrated with presentations by several prominent industry groups on the commercial application of marker-assisted selection, poster sessions, a graduate student NSIF award presentation, and a presentation on genetics of resistance to disease by Dr. Bonnie Mallard from the University of Guelph.

We hope these proceedings will be useful and informative. Additional copies of this and previous proceedings are available from the office of the Secretary- Treasurer. Copies of the Swine Genetics Handbook, containing fourteen fact sheets, can be purchased from the Secretary at $10.00 each. In addition, Guidelines For Uniform Swine Improvement Programs is available at no charge.

Elsewhere in these proceedings you will find a list of the 2003-2004 officers, directors, and acting committees of the Federation. If you wish to communicate with any of these because of a mutual concern or interest, do not hesitate to do so. Also, if I can be of any assistance please contact me. Additional information is available at the NSIF web site: www.nsif.com.

Kenneth J. Stalder
NSIF Secretary-Treasurer
Iowa State University
Dept. of Animal Science
109 Kildee Hall
Ames, IA 50011-3150
Phone: 515-294-4683
Fax: 515-294-5698
stalder@iastate.edu