Alberta Pork’s board of directors, staff and producers are saddened to acknowledge the passing of long-time pork industry researcher and advocate, Dr. George Foxcroft, who left us suddenly on Mon., Dec. 6. Our sincere condolences to Foxcroft’s loved ones and colleagues.
Foxcroft earned a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences and a PhD in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Nottingham (U.K.), where he eventually held a faculty position from 1974 until 1988, when he was sponsored by Alberta Pork to move to Canada as a research chair in Swine Reproductive Physiology at the University of Alberta. He led the Swine Reproduction-Development Program at the University of Alberta until his retirement in 2012, when he became a professor emeritus.
“George was a global leader in the field of regulation of ovarian function and early pregnancy loss, and he was the Canadian authority in understanding reproductive physiology of the pig,” said Ruurd Zijlstra, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science; Faculty of Agriculture, Life & Environmental Sciences; University of Alberta. “Throughout his research career, George focused on maintaining a two-way dialogue with the global and regional swine industry to understand their problems and success. His goal was always to ‘bring research to reality.’”
During his lifetime, he worked extensively with pork production systems in North and South America to optimize breeding herd management and to conduct innovative research projects in a commercial setting. Each year, Foxcroft’s legacy is honoured during the Banff Pork Seminar with the ‘George R. Foxcroft Lectureship in Swine Production.’ The lectureship was established in 2013 to host conference presenters who are conducting high-profile research applicable to pork production to improve efficiency.
Over the course of his career, Foxcroft published more than 190 peer-reviewed papers and reviews. He had an additional 120 invited reviews published in conference proceedings, covering the entire research spectrum. In 2012, he was recognized as one of the top-three most influential Canadian agricultural science researchers based on his h-index, which is determined by the number of scholarly articles published by a scientist and the number of citations their articles receive.
Outside of work, Foxcroft is remembered as a passionate rugby fan, avid gardener and enthusiastic cross-country skier. A memorial service will be held on Wed., Dec. 22 at 2 p.m., at Glenwood Funeral Home in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Everyone is welcome.
Foxcroft will be truly missed, but his legacy as a leader in the Canadian pork industry will endure.