Research has shown that swine performance traits can be improved by selection. Most economi-cally important traits can be measured objectively and are sufficiently high in heritability for selection to produce genetic improvement. Formal testing programs for swine began in the United State in the 1950's to take advantage of these circumstances.

A number of testing programs were developed that differed in terminology, procedures, and methods of measuring and reporting performance information. These differences often caused confusion resulting in barriers to acceptance and implementation of performance testing. The barriers have restricted cooperation among various segments of the swine industry compiling and using performance records. Thus, the genetic progress and economic impact of performance testing on the swine industry has been restricted.

The need for standard methods of measuring and reporting swine performance data resulted in the organization of the National Association of Swine Testing Stations (NASTS) in 1974 to develop uniform standards for reporting swine performance data. On the basis of discussions and committee reports evolving from meetings of this organization, agreement on uniform guidelines for swine improvement programs within the swine industry became a distinct possibility. For such guidelines to be acceptable by the total swine industry, however, they would need to be formulated by a broad-based federation encompassing all organizations involved in swine performance record-keeping.

NASTS prepared bylaws for a federation of organizations involved in swine performance testing to develop guidelines for uniform swine improvement programs. On March 20, 1975, these organizations met at the American Pork Congress in Kansas City, Missouri, and approved the bylaws. This dissolved the National Association of Swine Testing Stations, forming the National Swine Improvement Federation (NSIF). The purposes of NSIF are:

  1. Uniformity - To work for establishment of accurate and uniform procedures for measuring and recording data concerning the performance of swine which may be used by participating organizations.

  2. Development - To assist member organizations and/or their affiliates in developing their individual programs consistent with the needs of their members and the common goal of all record-keeping programs.

  3. Cooperation - To develop cooperation among all segments of the swine industry in compilation and utilization of performance records to improve the efficiency of swine production.

  4. Education - To encourage members to develop education programs emphasizing the use and interpretation of performance data in improving the efficiency of swine production.

  5. Confidence - To develop increased confidence of the swine industry in the economic potential of performance testing.

This publication was developed from reports of program and trait committees appointed by the Board of Directors of NSIF. It represents an effort on the part of the swine industry to extend the usefulness of performance testing. The guidelines in this publication are a revision of the Guidelines for Uniform Swine Improvement Programs recommended by the National Swine Improvement Federation in 1976 and revised in 1981 and 1987. The guidelines will be reviewed periodically and updated as indicated by research, experience, and industry economics.

The National Swine Improvement Federation intends to show no preference for or discrimination against any individual breed of swine or organization.

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