Animal Ag Panelists to Discuss Issues Mngt, Engaging Allies

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Animal Ag Alliance

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 4.26.05 PMAttendees at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2016 Stakeholders Summit, set for May 5-6, 2016 in Arlington, Va. will have the opportunity to hear stories and insights from their peers on two “Action, Please!” panels. The discussions are intended to provide the audience with fresh perspectives and actionable ideas that can be immediately implemented by any farm or business.

This year’s Summit, themed “Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future: Action, Please!”, will focus on securing a bright future for animal agriculture by finding solutions to the challenges facing the industry today. Attendees will hear from thought-provoking speakers, participate in engaging discussions, and leave with takeaways that they can use right away on their farms or in their businesses. Pre-registration for the event is open through May 2.

The “Stepping Up: Finding Solutions to Pressing Issues” panel will feature:
Gavin Gibbons, vice president, communications, National Fisheries Institute. As spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, the country’s largest commercial seafood trade association, Gibbons has been the voice of fisheries on issues in the mainstream media. He will focus on how activist organizations have misrepresented the seafood industry and what NFI has done to drastically increase the amount of positive media attention for seafood.
Kristen Coady, senior director, corporate communications, Dairy Farmers of America. Coady is responsible for implementing Dairy Farmers of America’s communication strategy, managing the brand and messaging for DFA, and ensuring effective communication with members, employees, customers, legislative representatives and other key stakeholders. Coady will discuss DFA’s unique approach in handling an “undercover” video release by animal rights activists.
Joe Swyers, owner and operator, Swyers Dairy Farm. Swyers and his wife operate an 1,100-cow dairy in Danville, New York. Last year, Swyers became concerned when he learned that Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” was part of his 8th grade daughter’s curriculum. After having no luck talking with his daughter’s teacher or principal about his concerns, Swyers convinced the school superintendent to give him a chance to offer the students another perspective of the food system. Swyers will tell this story of his experience and his lessons learned.

The “Reaching Out: Enlisting Allies” panel includes:
Mia Roberts, vice president – strategic operations, American Egg Board. Roberts leads the Good Egg Project, an image campaign created in 2009 on behalf of America’s Egg Farmers, as well as all corporate social responsibility, sustainability, education, state support and industry communications initiatives. Roberts will describe the Egg Board’s efforts to engage students and teachers through Farm-to-Table Virtual Field Trips produced in partnership with Discovery Education.

Lou Nave, executive director, Farm Animal Care Coalition of Tennessee. Nave has served as the executive director for the Farm Animal Care Coalition of Tennessee, a nonprofit serving as a unified voice for humane animal care, well-being issues and best management practices in Tennessee agriculture, since the group was formed in 2011. She will share about FACCT’s work to connect with the law enforcement community through a seminar held in October 2015 titled “Livestock 911: Basic Response to Livestock Investigations.”
Jeff Kayser, director of production, Suidae Health and Production Veterinary Clinic. Kayser leads a team of 150 employees that perform human resources, production, animal movement coordination, animal care program implementation and information services activities for 30,000 sows and 200,000 grow finish pigs. Kayser will give advice for enlisting industry allies in preparing for and avoiding crisis situations on farms, including “undercover” activist activity.