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September 28, 2015

Everything is connected, how do we define the future of sustainability.

Science-based Metrics – Tools to Improve Your Operation - Dr. Marty Matlock, PhD, PE, BCEE, Executive Director, Office of Sustainability, University of Arkansas, from the 2015 NIAA Annual Conference titled 'Water and the Future of Animal Agriculture', March 23 - 26, 2015, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

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September 28, 2015

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is being used against agricultural operations. This approach is novel and could severely impact all farm operations that have manure.

Ms. Deb Kristensen, Partner at Givens Pursley, LLP, shares her presentation "When Animal Manure is Regulated like Municipal Dumps", from the recent National Institute for Animal Agriculture meeting in Indianapolis.

Ms. Kristensen points out that new tactics are being developed, using the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) against agricultural operations. This approach is novel and could severely impact all farm operations that have manure.

September 1, 2015

The Pork Academy is a series of presentations held at the World Pork Expo that highlights Pork Checkoff funded research aimed at helping pork farm operations, management, and staff.

Through the Pork Checkoff, research and tools are developed to help understand / manage disease issues like PEDV, provide updates on consumer preferences, and share position conversations around antibiotics. These presentations help management and staff communicate with consumers, and integrate economics into daily farm decision making process.

July 2, 2015

This year there was less focus on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv, though it is still a concern). More sessions highlighted trade, economics, and sow live time productivity. And of course there was lots of BBQ and tenderloin sandwiches to be had.

Antibiotics, Trade, and Pork Quality The 2015 World Pork Expo (June 3 - 5, 2015, Des Moines, IA, USA) offered other interests beyond the past several years of PEDv: International Trade and Pork Quality sessions offered inside on how consumer are driving business. Also on the conversation channels: Antibiotics and new changes shared by the U.S. FDA.

Of note:

  • The U.S. FDA released new information on the use of antibiotics and agriculture. Dr. Jennifer Koeman, National Pork Board, and Dr. Harry Snelson, American Association Swine Veterinarians, break down the new changes and their implications. Dr. Koeman and Dr. Snelson also provide producers guidance points on what to do to prepare farms and staff [video].
  • Dr. Chris Hostetler, National Pork Board, points out the definition of Sow Lifetime Productivity and provides data that challenges some of the traditional views of improving Sow Lifetime Productivity. Dr. Hostetler offers research that can help improve productivity. Key take away: Improvement in sow lifetime productivity will substantially impact profitability of all phases of production [video].

June 30, 2015

Creating an open barn policy for everyone takes training and commitment.

Gary Cooper, COO, Cooper Farms, tells about the journey his family farm is taking to have an open barn for people including consumers and media. Mr. Cooper shares the story of how they brought in Temple Grandin to help improve turkey flow to meet consumer expectations of animal care.

Mr. Cooper's take aways: Bring animal care to top of mind and provide visual standard work instructions for all employees.

June 8, 2015

How are consumers seeing agriculture? What are people in agriculture doing to make connections?

This Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit event brought together a great mix of people to help connect, educate, and protect agriculture, farming, and food.

May 23, 2015

How did the reality TV show Under Cover Boss help chang perceptions about agriculture?

Brad Scott, Partner, Scott Brothers Dairy Farms, shares the story of how the reality TV show Under Cover Boss helped changed perceptions about agriculture. Mr. Scott highlights the background on how the Scott Brothers Dairy Farms were part of the reality TV show, what they had to do to pull off telling the real story, and what the future looks like after the show aired.

May 22, 2015

How does biodiesel with animal fats generate additional revenue for the livestock industry?

Alan Weber, Economist and Founding Partner, MARC-IV, states biodiesel demand for animal fats generates an additional revenue stream for the livestock industry. So the biodiesel and livestock sectors are tied together in the future success. Mr. Weber shares the connection points and the economics for both groups.

Mr. Weber closes with thoughts on the need to maintain the stakeholder connections for their success into the future.

May 22, 2015

What is happening with food consumer demand, beliefs, and reality?

What is happening with food consumer demand, beliefs, and reality? Cameron Bruett, Head, Corporate Affairs, JBS USA & Pilgrims and President of the Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, provides a reality check for meat producers and what media concerns are influencing consumers. Mr. Bruett's take away: Keep focused on what you are really trying to accomplish.

May 22, 2015

Why is food so important now?

Back to the Future of FoodBack to the Future of Food Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine, shares a media person's view of food and agriculture. Why is food now important?

Mr. Dimick shares what has happened over the last few years on how food came to the forefront of media. Mr. Dimick challenges the audience with the idea that consumers need to know more about the issues and what is being done to continue the education and informing of the greater public about food ecosystems.

May 22, 2015

Do you know the details on understanding trends about millennials?

Creating Increased Brand Love and Profits in an Age of DisruptionCreating Increased Brand Love and Profits in an Age of Disruption Jeff Fromm, Author of Marketing to Millennials and Executive Vice President of Barkley U.S., brings out the details on understanding trends about millennials. Mr. Fromm highlights the myths that many believe to be true and offers that those myths are not all true. Mr. Fromm offers a set of questions and tools to help people understand the millennial trends and develop plans to evolve to meet those people where they are now and in the future.

May 22, 2015

Will consumers accept new agriculture technologies?

John Graettinger, Director Food Chain Affairs, Merck Animal Health, aims to address the question of "Will consumers accept new agriculture technologies?" Mr. Graettinger states that consumers do not understand what agricultural technologies exist today and how they work.

Mr. Graettinger offers several examples on how the names of many technologies are not well formed and scare consumers. Mr. Graettinger suggests several changes and challenges people to frame the customer's needs into the messages companies share.

May 22, 2015

"Is there a problem in feeding 9 billion people?" - "Only if you want to eat."

Mandy Hagan, Vice President, State Affairs and Grassroots, Grocery Manufacturers Association, asks the core question of "Is there a problem in feeding 9 billion people?" and rhetorically answer it with "Only if you want to eat".

Ms. Hagan shares approaches to utilizing technology, like genetically modified organisms, to meet the needs of those future 9 billion people.

May 22, 2015

What is sustainability and what is it not?

Roger Cady, Global Sustainability Lead, Elanco, shares an opening view of what sustainability is and is not. He believes the idea of sustainability will not go away and must be meet head on. Mr. Cady provides information on what consumers believe and care about.

The challenges? Sustainable practices must be a continuous process whose management must take in the ideas of tradition and change to be effective. Mr. Cady closes with the idea that raising the standard of living for farmers must be measured, whose data is incorporated into the sustainability continuous process.

April 7, 2015

What is the history and future on issues and needs of the Common Industry Audit?

Sherrie Webb, Director Animal Welfare, National Pork Board, addresses the Pork Industry Forum producers about the Common Industry Audit. Ms. Webb provides the history on what issues and needs drove the Common Industry Audit creation.

Ms. Webb highlights the program elements and the role of the Industry Audit Task Force in the implementation of the processes. Take aways: Audit tools are available for all to use and training is available. Additionally, audits are part of a comprehensive approach to having a quality industry.

February 4, 2015

Is the race to commit to sustainability outpacing the processes and tools in place?

Dawn Robinson, Regional Director, Latin America, Proforest, talks about the context, drivers, and trends of sustainability. Ms. Robinson highlights some of the standards and tools that are available to help support sustainability efforts.

She closes with some of the challenges, including audit fatigue / duplication, exclusion of smallholders, and the race to commit maybe outpacing the processes and tools in place.

February 4, 2015

Can we share our story in an authentic way that's fun?

Francesca DeBiase, Vice President for Strategic Sourcing & Sustainability, Worldwide Supply Chain, McDonald’s, shares a video of people from different backgrounds and ages showing off their football (soccer) ball handling skills in surprising settings. The video is "about sharing our story in an authentic way that's fun". For beef sustainability,

February 4, 2015

The "S" word is over used and, from a farmer perspective, the word is lost in the conversations.

Karl Williams, Director, FAI Farms with Benchmark Holdings, talks about farmers can measure sustainability. He suggests the "S" word is over used and, from a farmer perspective, the word is lost in the conversations.

Mr. Williams uses the model of the three Es (Economics, Ethics, and Environment) throughout the presentation, highlighting how real farmers are accomplishing sustainability. He suggests there only needs to be a set of simple measures in order for there to be a meaningful conversation.

February 4, 2015

How is the farming of global beef coming together with the discussions around sustainability?

Sustainability is something agriculture is working to understand, measure, and take action on. This is being done from a variety of angles and groups. The 2014 Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), November 2 -5, 2014, São Paulo, Brazil, provides information on the types of sustainability efforts occurring in and around beef.

February 4, 2015

We can not separate ourselves from the land; We are the land, and the land is us.

Tre’ Cates, Chief Operating Officer/CFO, Savory Institute, points out how holistic management provides the management tools to understand nature and work with it. Mr. Cates says that the opportunity is to recognize that what is happening on farms is something that can increase the livelihoods of people, through holistic management of the world’s grasslands.

February 3, 2015

How does the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform work?

Brian Lindsay, Project Leader, Beef Working Group, explains what the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform is about and how it developed. The collaboration group was created in 2002 by the food industry to promote sustainable agriculture worldwide. Mr. Lindsay shares how the definition of sustainability was developed and what members do to help support the initiative. Mr. Lindsay concludes with an outline of the SAI timeline and goals.

February 3, 2015

Can building the trust between agriculture/food companies and consumers work?

Charlie Arnot, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Food Integrity, talks about building the trust between agriculture/food companies and consumers. Mr. Arnot shares how building a social license to operate is key for companies to sustain that trust.

Mr. Arnot also covers what happens when companies loose the trust and regulation is implanted to "fix" the social license and trust shield. Mr. Arnot suggests that companies need to begin their public engagement, open their digital doors, and commit to an online and in person engagement culture throughout.

February 3, 2015

What does beef sustainability looks like in Canada?

Cheryl Copithorne-Barnes, Chair, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, presents what beef sustainability looks like in Canada. Ms. Copithorne-Barnes details the governance and execution of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and how it must operate in its mission.
February 3, 2015

How can sustainability be part of soybean production?

Daniel Meyer explains what Roundtable for Responsible Soy is about and how it is being developed. This new sustainable soy initiative has developed governance, a sustainable definition, and a process to certify soy operation as sustainable. Key take aways: 1) Successful sustainability communication is tailored to different circumstances and contexts, 2) Attention to the myths of sustainability! and 3) Make the complex look simple and work on accessibility.