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18 Reasons to Attend the 2018 Stakeholders Summit

  1. Learn how to protect your roots!2018SummitLogo_PROTECTYOURROOTS-01

Get inspired to be proud of your roots in animals agriculture and become forward thinking on how to grow in the future.

  1. Be one of the first to hear results from research on antibiotics and animal welfare.

Dr. Randall Singer, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota, will share the findings of a recent study examining “No Antibiotics Ever” animal production and the effects it could have on animal welfare.

  1. Find out what extreme actions animal rights activists are taking.

Jason Roesler from Fur Commission USA and Nicole Drumhiller, PhD, from the School of Security and Global Studies at American Public University System will give their presentation “Radical Animal Rights Extremism: Assessing the Nature of the Threat” so we know more about those who threaten our way of life.

  1. Make a bid at the Silent Auction.

Browse over 35 items at this year’s Silent Auction – there’s something for everyone! Take home the jewelry, a case of bacon or maybe the Star Wars signed posters.

7C Star Wars 11X14

Available in the silent auction: “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope”  signed by Carrie Fisher
 and Kenny Baker

  1. Hear Mark Gale talk about consumer perspectives on food labels.

Mark Gale, CEO and partner at Charleston|Orwig, will discuss what average Americans think of food labels and how they buy their food.

  1. Ask questions about postmodern animal ag at a panel discussion.

“Postmodern Animal Ag Begins Now” will be moderated by Chuck Jolley, president of Jolley & Associates. Hear from Danielle Nierenberg from Food Tank; Janet Riley from North American Meat Institute; and Dallas Hockman from National Pork Producers Council.

  1. Hear Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam dissect animal ag in the past and now.

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is a cooperative extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology at University of California-Davis. She will ask “Were Those the Days?” and discuss animal agriculture – past and present.

  1. Meet people across all sectors.

Meet professionals in every sector of agriculture, from aquaculture to dairy, and from the feed industry to restaurant and retail. The Summit is the premier event connecting industry stakeholders across all sectors of agriculture!

  1. Dr. Jayson Lusk will discuss how consumer choice can shape our market.

Dr. Jayson Lusk will discuss “The Future of Consumer Choice.” He is a professor and head of the department of agricultural economics at Purdue University.

  1. Hear about Agriculture’s Roots in Washington.

    Ted McKinney photo

    Ted McKinney, USDA

USDA’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, joins us to talk about agriculture in the Capital.

  1. Meet the Alliance staff.

Meet the awesome ladies that run the Alliance and learn how they could help you!

  1. Learn why it is important to tell our story!

Jenny Splitter, a food, science and health writer; Tamara Hinton of Story Partners and Phil Brasher from AgriPulse will tell us how “Sharing Your Roots” is an important piece of animal agriculture.

  1. Learn how to respond to these threats toward animal agriculture.

Panel Moderator Dallas Hockman from National Pork Producers Council will ask Scott Sobel, senior vice president of crisis and litigation communications at kglobal, Dr. Jamie Jonker from National Milk Producers Federation and Brian Humphreys of Ohio Pork Producers Council questions about “Responding to Activist Tactics: Lessons Learned.”

  1. Network with others in your field.

With nearly 300 attendees you can make valuable connections with people across your industry.

  1. Hear why ‘plant-based’ diets seem to be on the rise.

Registered dietitian nutritionists Leah McGrath and Amy Myrdal Miller will discuss how the term ‘plant-based’ became popular and how we, in animal agriculture, can promote a balanced diet.

  1. Learn how animal agriculture is affecting the environment, and why most 
    Frank Mitloehner_006

    Dr. Frank Mitloehner, UC-Davis

    people get it wrong.

Dr. Frank Mitloehner professor and air quality extension specialist at University of California-Davis, will discuss the facts and fiction of animal ag and the environment and will debunk myths about animal ag’s environmental impact

  1. Learn what the Animal Ag Alliance does!

Become familiar with the Animal Ag Alliance and all we do to connect industry stakeholders, engage with key influencers and protect the agriculture industry.

  1. Hear how our resilience can help agriculture thrive into the future!
    Tyne Morgan, the host of U.S. Farm Report and the 2018 Summit Moderator, will close out the Summit with a session on how “Resilience Reigns in Agriculture.”


Don’t take our word for it! 95% of 2017 attendees rated the Summit as good or great and 100% say it was worth their time and money. We hope to see you at the 2018 Stakeholders Summit in Arlington, VA!

Online registration closes May 1st! Register Here!


Animal rights activists masquerading as consumers

Consumer demand is powerful. It can be the champion of a company’s success or the culprit of their failure. What I find even more interesting is how consumer demand is defined. Does a group of people with no intention of ever buying a restaurant’s product qualify as their consumer? With the avalanche of recent restaurant and retail pledges caving to pressure from animal rights organizations, it seems so.

At the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s recent Stakeholders Summit, speakers offered insights about consumer demand – suggesting consumers aren’t the ones demanding restaurants and grocery stores to change their supply chain policies at all. Dr. Dan Thomson of Kansas State University stated, “activists today are masquerading as the consumers.”

I have yet to hear a person order their chicken sandwich only with meat from “slower-growing” chickens, so Thomson’s statement didn’t surprise me. Although I understand why restaurants adopt certain sourcing policies in the face of mounting activist pressure, it would be refreshing to see a company stand up against the “self-appointed food police” as Diane Sullivan, an anti-poverty and affordable food advocate calls them. Thankfully, there is still at least one brand with a backbone – Domino’s Pizza.

Tim McIntyre of Domino’s Pizza

Tim McIntyre from Domino’s shared how the pizza company hears from animal rights “extremists” all the time, but they value the hard work of farmers and ranchers and will never make a policy announcement threatening farmers’ livelihoods [cue standing ovation].

Animal rights organizations hide behind the guise of being concerned about animal care and well-being, but in reality they are campaigning for animal rights. No matter how well animals are cared for, if it benefits humans in any way it is unacceptable in their eyes. The pressure campaigns are about one thing – driving up the cost of production and in the end, consumer costs to put farmers and ranchers who raise meat, milk and eggs out of business.

I urge the consumers who don’t want to be bullied by animal rights organizations to take a page out of Domino’s playbook and stand up and take action. A simple thank you to our favorite restaurant or the manager at your grocery store can go a long way.


HSUS bullies animal ag and hurts low-income families

Diane Sullivan, an anti-poverty and affordable food advocate, shares her story of standing up for agriculture while the Humane Society of the United States pushed for a ballot in Massachusetts that would hurt low-income families at the grocery store. 

Less than a year ago, I attended the 2016 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, my first real introduction to agriculture beyond labels on products in the grocery store. I had recently learned about a ballot initiative filed in my state that, despite efforts to legally challenge its certification, would become Question 3 on the Massachusetts 2016 ballot.

As I considered engaging in this food policy debate, I reflected on my own family’s experience with hunger, homelessness and poverty which drives me in my work for social justice. I recalled the times I would dig through my sofa for change just to purchase a dozen eggs to feed my children some protein for dinner. In deference to the real victims of Q3, I would later agree to become campaign manager for Citizens Against Food Tax Injustice.

In my work, I have always sought to break down the stereotypes we all know too well – that poor people are lazy and uninspired; that if we would just go to work, we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Rather than focus on solutions to poverty, policies began to look more like punishments, as broad brushes of accusations of fraud, waste and abuse taint us all when one bad apple makes a new headline.

While attending last year’s summit, I quickly learned that those of you providing the gift of nutrition have your own unique, yet similar challenges. I noted to Brian Klippenstien of Protect the Harvest at the time that low income families and farmers have their respective stories to share, stories that left untold by us, would be told for us by others with self-serving interests.

My years in policy work have also shown me that when we start to solve for a problem that does not exist, there will be unintended consequences. More often than not, the poor will suffer the worst. Q3 is the very definition of social injustice, those elite with money and satisfied choices imposing burdens on those with neither.

On its surface, Q3 would appeal to the good-hearted voters in Massachusetts who want to prevent cruelty to animals. In reality, Q3 was a cruel indifference to those of us who struggle to feed our families in a state ranked 47th in housing affordability and where our food costs are already 26 percent higher than the national average. Like most everyone, I don’t want to be cruel to animals, but I refuse to be cruel to people.

The Humane Society of the United States and their supporters would ultimately spend $2.7 million on the passage of Q3, while ensuring that the good and truth of agriculture would be a story left untold in my state. HSUS would continue to ignore not only the economic impacts for some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens, but also the animal welfare trade-offs for the very livestock they claim to protect.

The politics is strange. Imagine if President Trump were to propose doubling the cost of the most affordable and accessible source of protein available to low income families. Outrage would ensue as advocates for the poor and the media would express their disdain for such a heartless and reckless act. Yet, when merchants of veganism do it, compassion for our fellow humans can simply be set aside, it seems.

Thankfully, Mr. Forrest Lucas and the National Pork Producers Council would provide enough funds for me to give voice to the voiceless in this debate. Sadly, we would ultimately be outspent 10:1 as funds directly from HSUS and their supporters in places like California, New York and DC poured into their campaign. Citizens for Farm Animal Protection rained down TV ads that portrayed animals in awful conditions, duping MA voters into thinking these conditions existed across farms in our state and were acceptable, normal agriculture practices across the country.

Walking into this debate, I had no idea how extraordinary our food producers and science partners are at providing healthy, affordable and sustainable nutrition. I am among the grateful who appreciate why your work is so critical and meaningful. I know why, going forward, the coalitions that I am accustomed to working in must be working in partnership with you all who feed us.

HSUS cleverly played on the emotions of voters in a progressive state where we, in general, know very little to nothing about agriculture. HSUS has bullied our local farmers into submission with direct threats to their livelihoods. HSUS lied about the cost, as they did in CA, selling their ‘penny-an-egg’ story to unsuspecting voters. HSUS claimed that consumers were driving their cause, not mentioning the consumers they were referring were retail executives who know about a good marketing plan, not your average shopper on a budget. HSUS called me as a pawn for big agriculture.

HSUS would soon learn that my supporters hadn’t just come to MA to randomly pick some low-income woman to be the face of this campaign. HSUS wasn’t certain how to handle me. This low income grandma, working 2 jobs to survive, with a solid record of 15 years in anti-poverty work, was on a crash course in agriculture. I found myself being the voice for not only those victimized by Q3, but also in defense of agriculture.

I created a unique challenge. HSUS couldn’t protest in front of my home: my neighbors would have had a field day with them. HSUS couldn’t threaten a boycott of my business: I don’t own one. HSUS couldn’t bully me out of this debate: though they tried. Their supporters suggested that I be locked in a cage. Some commented that my children should not exist if I ever struggled to feed them.

Despite our efforts, Q3 would pass overwhelmingly in MA, with a 2022 implementation date. As predicted, HSUS has moved along to another small, coastal state that, like my own, ranks among the very lowest in agriculture receipts in the country. HSUS is taking to state legislatures and ballots what they have been losing at the check-out counter where 90 percent of us purchase conventional eggs.

As I consider my next steps in this debate, I am reminded that HSUS did not happen overnight. Campaigns take time. Now, I know there has been an on-going food policy debate where those most impacted – and harmed – have been absent. I am here to take my seat at the table. HSUS is now pressing further, trying to bully big agriculture into producing slower growing broilers driving up the consumer price of chicken meat. That negotiation does not include the voice of those most adversely impacted. Any meaningful debate on these issues requires the presence of one of its major stakeholder groups –low income consumers.

In MA, nearly 800,000 residents rely on the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps). Nationwide, that number is 45.5 million. We know that these numbers only scratch the surface at what food insecurity in the United States really looks like.

We must be more united and assertive in protecting and distributing our abundance. We must have the victims of this debate join with those who produce. The voice of low-income consumers can no longer be excluded from the negotiating tables. It is critical we unite urban and rural partnerships to promote food security and protect our dinner plates from the self-appointed food police.

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Cast your vote for two farmers to win our blog and photo contests!

The top entries for our Instagram and blog contests have been selected and now it’s up to you to decide which ones will be the winners and receive a free registration to our 2017 Stakeholders Summit! Cast your vote by Friday, March 10th and the lucky winners will be announced on Monday, March 13th!

Blog Post Entries 

The farmers with the top blog posts are…

  1. Nicole Small, Kansas Farm Mom: “Action Please”
  2. Wanda Patsche, Minnesota pig farmer: “Action, Please – Minnesota “Farm-to-table style” 
  3. Melinda B., Cattle rancher: “Action, Please!”

Please vote for your favorite Action, Please story and the winner will receive a free registration and hotel stay to attend the Summit to Connect to Protect Animal Ag! The two runner-ups will be invited to come at a discounted rate.


Instagram Photo Entries 

We received so many great entries that we couldn’t limit ourselves to picking just three photos, so we picked our top five!

Laura Daniels, Wisconsin dairy farmer


Karra James, Kansas beef rancher and row crop farmer


Michelle MillerThe Farm Babe, sheep and cattle farmer


Krista Stauffer, The Farmer’s Wifee, dairy farmer


Lauren Arbogast, Paint The Town Ag, Virginia chicken farmer


Please vote for your favorite farm photo and the winner will receive a free registration and hotel stay to attend the 2017 Summit and the two runner-ups will be invited to come at a discounted rate!


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Did you take action for animal agriculture? Share it with us!

Last year’s Stakeholders Summit focused on taking action to secure a bright future for animal agriculture. Well, it’s that time of year again and we want to know what you did to take action! Did you talk to people in your community, start a club or teach a lesson at a local school, join social media to start advocating, invite neighbors to your farm or something else to help secure a bright future for our industry? If you did, we want to feature you at the 2017 Summit! Share a photo with a few sentences explaining the picture or video testimonial and we will share your Action, Please story with our Summit attendees this May! The deadline to submit stories is April 7, 2017!

Please share your photos and videos on Instagram or Twitter and tag the Alliance! You can also send your photos and videos to Casey at!