By David Fairfield, Senior Vice President of Feed Services
The NGFA participated in the Animal Agriculture Alliance annual summit on May 7-8 in Kansas City, Mo., where the focus was on a wide range of issues being faced by the animal agriculture industry.
This year’s event, attended by more than 300, was themed “A Seat at the Table” to reinforce that connecting and engaging with a diverse group of stakeholders – representatives from farms, ranches, food processors, restaurants, grocery stores, legislatures, universities and government agencies – is necessary to effectively address the topics and trends affecting animal agriculture.
Key topics covered during the summit included:
- Consumer Perceptions: A live consumer focus group shared perspectives to help attendees better understand consumer perceptions of animal agriculture. The group shared thoughts on how issues related to animal production, such as housing, welfare and use of antibiotics, affect their choices when purchasing food.
- Animal Production Standards: An update was provided on the “One Health Certified Program” – a collaborative animal production standard under development that would be administered by the industry with audits by USDA. The goal of the new program is to create an animal production standard with meaning and value to both customers and the industry, and will encompass core principles associated with biosecurity programs, animal health plans, responsible antibiotic stewardship, third-party-audited animal welfare programs and environmental measurements.
- Animal Rights Activities: Security experts shared information on how to mitigate risks posed by the increasingly bold and aggressive tactics and activities of animal rights activists. In addition, animal law attorneys shared experiences and proactive steps that may be taken to handle the litigation and public relation challenges posed by activists.
- Engaging Influencers: A panel of experts offered ideas about how to effectively engage with influencers about animal agriculture and connect with consumers about modern food production. The panel shared personal experiences, tips, lessons learned, and other tactics on enhancing communication.
Established in 1987, the Animal Agriculture Alliance is a nonprofit organization that helps bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. The Alliance focuses on three core activities: connecting key food industry stakeholders to provide them with responses to emerging issues; engaging food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture; and protecting by exposing those who threaten the nation’s food security with damaging misinformation. The NGFA joined the Alliance as a member in 2009 to support its purpose and mission. Further, the National Grain and Feed Foundation contributes financially to the Alliance’s ongoing public education activities.