Road Trip to Estonia

Last week we were in Tallinn, Estonia. It was our first time there. Estonia is county of 1.3 million people with Finland to its north, Russia to its east and Latvia to the south. Not a large country but its population density per square mile (or kilometer) is the smallest in Europe. We were in Estonia to sign a contract for Genesus Genetics to supply and operate the genetic component of a new state of the art facility with the company 000 Clean Gen. The farm is in an isolated location at Narva, Estonia right by the Russian border and about 120 miles (200 Kilometers) from St. Petersburg, Russia. The new production facility will utilize the latest technology in sow housing environmental, including a filtered air system and production of pelleted manure.  It will meet and exceed all APR4European Union regulations that pertain to swine production and the environment. The first phase of production is projected to be 125,000 head per year. The Clean Gen operation will be a primary nucleus and multiplication facility to supply Genesus swine genetics to the Balkans, Central Europe and Russian markets. apr2In Tallinn we signed the agreement in the Estonian Parliament building. Estonian Senior Officials are quite supportive of the introduction of the technology transfer that will be associated with the Clean Gen project. Tallinn is a medieval city with the old town district dating from the time of the Teutonic Knights and the Crusades to convert the local population to Christianity. By chance on the first night we were there, there was a candlelight vigil of 20,000 candles to commemorate the 20,000 Estonia’s apr1shipped to Siberia during Stalin’s time when Estonia was part of the Soviet Union. Most did not survive. Have to say it was moving seeing the candles and people honouring their countrymen. Tallinn is a spectacular city with the old town excellently preserved with most of the buildings hundreds of years old. We have travelled to approximately 50 countries and would put Tallinn near the top of the best places we have been.

Is Optimism a Blessing or Curse?

When we were in Estonia we met with Europeans who read this commentary. They commented that this commentary is usually very optimistic. Made us think about who we are and what makes us tick, so we did some research about North Americans in general. First a quote from David Landes in his book on world economic history, “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations”, he concludes that optimism is the major trait of great nations. “In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive…That is the way of achievement, civilization and success…Educated, eye-open optimism pays.” Some recent polls show some differences between Europe and America.
People Pessimistic about their own economic conditions Satisfied with life we lead


63% United States 65%


62% Europe  34%

Great Britain

58% Belief in Miracles


59% United States


United States

46% Germany




Belief in Life After Death
United States 80% France 50%
  When we look at the previous polling we see the inherent optimism of American Society. We see this optimism every day in the swine industry and agriculture.
  • As a group we expect it will rain this year and yields will be good.
  • Many hog producers are hanging on despite losses of over $30 per head inherently believing lower feed prices and higher pork demand will lead to profitability.
  • It’s why farmland has hit $20,000 an acre in some areas. Optimism that grain prices and land values will not decrease.
  • Maybe it’s our Continents belief in Miracles. Some days it seems to be the back-up plan to get the hog industry profitable.
  • The Optimism we all have is a strength. The downside, we don’t have many quitters. We have written this before. “If we ever went to war, I would want to be in a platoon of pig farmers, they never stop fighting and will refuse to die.”
March 1st Hogs and Pigs Report – We know it has been released but on a plane coming back from Estonia. We will comment next week.

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This post was written by Genesus