“Hot Topic” Speakers Address Industry Challenges

October 24, 2019

The “Hot Topic” Speaker sessions began with a panel of experts on corporate social responsibility (CSR), facilitated by Matt Sutton-Vermeulen, who acknowledged “this topic causes tension,” but encouraged attendees to get involved. Panelists shared their experiences on why CSR is important and a framework for implementation.

L to R: Dr. Brett Kaysen, Nancy Himmelfarb, Tim Lambert, Matt Sutton-Vermeulen

Dr. Brett Kaysen, Assistant VP, Sustainability, National Pork Board, spoke about the organization’s “We Care” program, which defines six ethical principles with defined practices, measures, and continuous improvement. Nancy Himmelfarb, principal at NJH Sustainability Consulting, emphasized the benefits of CSR, including an increase in sales, customers and employee retention. Tim Lambert, CEO of Egg Farmers of Canada, provided his organization’s CSR journey and recommended egg producers share their stories - caring for the environment, hen welfare, giving back, and more. UEP President Chad Gregory stated, “We have a great story to share and great opportunity. Customers are asking us to tell our story.  Let’s create this great story.”

Dr. Rudolf Preisinger

Dr. Rudolf Preisinger, chief technical officer for Layer, EW Group, provided attendees with alternatives to male chick culling in the layer industry. He briefly discussed less considered options, such as growing the male chicks for meat, or transitioning to dual-purpose chickens, and addressed why these choices are not feasible solutions. Preisinger then presented the more likely solution of in-ovo sexing in the egg and outlined the challenges experienced by Seleggt and AAT/EW Group who are working on this technology.

Mike Taylor, Will Daniels

Will Daniel, President of IEH’s Produce Division, provided a detailed description of the Earthbound Farms salad recall, the industry response, and how whole genome sequencing and other testing technologies are changing the world of outbreak detection. Mike Taylor, former FDA deputy commissioner for Food and Veterinary Medicine and board chair of Stop Foodborne Illness, discussed how agriculture can learn from past experiences to avoid future problems. He suggested knowing hazards before there is a crisis, cultivating continuous improvement, and building a culture of food safety across organizations and systems.