June 16, 2022
Future leaders from the U.S. egg industry gathered at Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana for the Eighth Annual UEP Future Leaders Conference, June 7 - 9. Presentations, discussions and breakout sessions focused on the PAST / PRESENT / FUTURE theme. Known for its innovative farming, animal welfare and sustainability practices, the farm was an ideal setting for attendees as they learned about the past and present challenges faced by the egg industry and the potential future.
The conference began with Jacqueline McCloskey, the daughter of the Fair Oaks founders Mike and Sue McCloskey, sharing the events leading up to the farm's opening in 2004. UEP President and CEO Chad Gregory led the next session discussing how the industry has changed over the years and UEP’s current opportunities, challenges and five-year strategic priorities.
Leading change was the topic of additional sessions facilitated by Matt Sutton–Vermeulen and Sarah Frank from the Context Network. The future leaders learned about a multi-step framework for making transformative changes in an organization. In breakout groups, attendees applied the framework to issues they face in their current positions. Sutton–Vermeulen and Frank also shared the common pitfalls that can prevent a company from successfully implementing change.
During the conference, the group toured Fair Oak’s attractions, including a robotics dairy with state-of-the-art AI technology, a working farm implementing innovative processes to raise pigs in several life stages and Crop Adventures, which highlights modern practices and how farming will change in the future to feed the earth’s population. Environmental practices are highlighted throughout the farm, with cow manure used to create electricity, biofuel and fertilizer.
The future leaders were encouraged to serve as egg industry advocates on social media and post about the sessions during a Twitter contest. Congratulations to the following prize winners: Brandon Briner, Dannielle Drees, Kelly Menchhofer and Ian Rubinoff.
While the agenda was packed with leadership skills development and problem-solving, the conference also provided several opportunities for networking, friendship and fun.
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