Editor's note: The following commentary was originally featured in the October 2015 issue of PORK Network, available here

I have a plaque above the doors in my living room with the quote above, and I believe it. The longer you hang around in life, the more you realize it’s about the relationships you develop with people, personally and professionally. This philosophy carries through in the articles featured this month.

If the U.S. industry is serious about keeping African Swine Fever out of the United States, it will require strong networks of individuals and groups working together to identify the necessary protocols and processes.

The same is true in regard to antibiotics – the industry’s relationship with consumers is paramount to their continued acceptance of our product. The relationships the industry has with government entities, allied industries and the public will determine its future success.

The cover story on production targets gives readers a glimpse into the tremendous progress being made by seedstock suppliers. New technologies allow geneticists to make improvements faster than ever before. Still, it’s a collaborative effort built on previous decisions. The trust and respect you have with your supplier is of utmost importance. The more positive the relationship, the better the opportunity for continuous improvement. It’s the personal relationship that makes the difference.

Another important relationship is the one you have with your veterinarian. The veterinarian-client-patient relationship is an integral part of the new Veterinary Feed Directive. Your best interests – as well as those of your animals – are pivotal to a successful partnership. I have tremendous admiration for swine veterinarians. The ones I’ve met and with whom I’ve worked through the years are dedicated, inquisitive and forward-thinking. They continually search for answers and better methodologies. Our goal in the coming months is to spotlight these industry leaders and identify ways to share their expertise with our readers.

Steve Jobs once said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” I believe veterinarians, seedstock suppliers and other trusted advisers use this advice to build relationships with producers and advance their quest for continual improvement.

Trusted advisers aren’t the only ones striving for excellence. You do it every day in your operation. We do it every day in bringing you information that’s relevant, interesting and valuable. Because life also is about sharing your gifts and leaving the world better than it was before you touched it.