If the technological developments of the past 25 years made your head spin, you’re in for the ride of your life during the next 25.

Once the technology genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back. Those who research, create and drive such developments feed off of the fact that there is a world of possibilities to unlock and they hold the keys.

Add a new century into the mix and there’s almost a demand to force change – to set the new century apart from the old. Then there’s the fact that technology begets more technology.

Scientists have already developed a computer chip implant that can make you smarter. Another version enhances your memory and will help you recognize people you’ve met previously. Of course, such technology is worthy of an ethical debate, but these are simply the beginnings.

The human genome has been mapped and while there’s still about three years of work before much of it can be applied, the point is the information will be used. The same process is unfolding for the swine genome. In the near future, you will select swine genetics under entirely different methods for entirely different traits.

Combine information from those two genomes and some of you will raise hogs that produce pork with certain medical benefits for targeted people. Human vaccinations will be administered through milk and meat.

The Internet has and will continue to have major technological impact. It will change the way we live and do business. While retailers enjoyed booming Christmas sales this past season, malls and other shops felt the Internet cut into their business. Maybe you didn’t shop online, but hoards of busy people let their mouse to the searching – anytime night or day – from the comfort of their homes.

Need pet food? No problem, PetSmart lets you shop online and then delivers the goods to your door. The McGuinnis Sisters supermarkets in Pittsburg provide the same service, letting you search the shelves, as well as the stores’ catering services, from your computer. Airlines are offering some excellent deals, but only if you book through their Web site.

There are companies collecting reams of demographic information about consumers. Some people find this offensive, but they will find it more palatable when they receive e-mails with customized money saving offers on products and services they already use.

Anyone under 30 years old already loves the Internet’s convenience and unlimited possibilities. As the population ages, Internet services will make consumers’ lives easier.

What does this have to do with raising hogs? Everything. Just because you’re on the farm doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the evolution. You think people will buy pork in the future because “It’s the Other White Meat”? Probably not.

“What can you offer me, how can you make my life easier, what’s the added value” – those factors will be the cost of admission into the consumer market in the future.

Pork’s products and services will have to meet the demands of these changing consumers and retailers. You may not be able to tap into this technology alone, but it’s all the more reason that alliances, joint ventures and cooperatives will play a role in your future.

“I can’t, I won’t, I don’t want to,” are one-way tickets to obsolescence.

There’s an excellent television commercial airing these days. It has several old men in suits sitting around a dusty, gray boardroom. The chairman says: “We’ve been in business 80 years; we’ll give the customer what we want, when we want.” Of course the point is they’re relics and their business is history. What’s scary is you can insert any business or service into that scene.

Tradition has its place – holidays are an excellent opportunity to revel in tradition. But today, business is not. You don’t raise hogs the way your grandfather did, nor can you run your business or market pork the way he did.

Who knows what the future holds? What you do know is the past year has re-written the life and times of the pork industry; commerce is changing in a big way; and the old rules no longer apply.

It’s time to wipe your business slate clean and look to the future.