Phil Thacker was born in Vancouver and received his B. Sc. in 1974 and his M.Sc. in 1978 both from the University of British Columbia. In 1982, he was awarded a Ph.D by the University of Alberta for his work on “The Effects of Dietary Propionate on Lipid Metabolism in Growing Swine”. Dr Thacker increased his awareness of the swine industry as a Regional Swine Specialist with Alberta Agriculture after graduation. In 1984, he was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan, promoted to Associate Professor in 1987 and Full Professor in 1991. He teaches both basic nutrition as well as swine production and was awarded the “Professor of the Year Award” in 1996 and 2001, given for teaching excellence.
Dr Thacker has been very active in research, teaching and extension. He is the author of over 210 refereed publications in scientific journals including 6 scientific reviews. Other publications include conference proceedings, abstracts as well as many technical reports. He coauthored the “Swine Nutrition Guide” a book on general swine nutrition for swine producers and edited a book on “Non-traditional Feed Sources for Use in Swine Production”. He was also a member of a team that produced a CD Rom on “Increasing the Reproductive Efficiency of the Breeding Herd”. He was a member of the 1998 NRC subcommittee to establish the “Nutrient Requirements of Swine”. He received the “Young Scientist Award” and the “Canadian Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service” from the Canadian Society of Animal Science in 1989 and 2009 respectively.
Dr Thacker’s main areas of research are in the area of evaluating new feed sources for use in swine production and in developing methods to increase the reproductive efficiency of the breeding herd. He has evaluated the potential of alternative feeds such as buckwheat, borage meal, hulless barley, low-phytate barley, low viscosity rye, wild oat groats and fish silage. In addition he has conducted studies to determine the effectiveness of growth hormone, relaxin and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone as a means of improving the reproductive performance of swine.
Dr Thacker was widely sought after as a speaker for swine extension meetings. He has spoken in such diverse areas as Korea, China, Holland, Australia and Mexico. He received the 2004 Friendship Award, the highest award presented by the Chinese Government to foreign experts. This award is given to honor significant contributions to China’s economic and social development. In addition, he received the Xinghai International Friendship Award for the Municipal Government of Dalian in 2011.