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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!

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“This is My First Summit!”

Over the course of my semester interning with the Animal Ag Alliance, preparation for the 2017 Stakeholders Summit was the main focus. I had witnessed how much work each member of the Alliance team had put into this event, listened to them discuss new ways to ensure every attendee was engaged, and strategize how they would make this year’s Summit the best one yet. Needless to say, I had pretty high expectation for the annual event.

Myself at the Alliance photo booth at Summit.

Board of Directors Meeting

The day before the official start of Summit was the Alliance’s spring Board of Directors meeting. With their strong connections to major industry organizations, the Alliance’s Board is filled with individuals who I am completely in awe of. Surrounded by and having the opportunity to mingle with representatives from National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, etc. was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. Stepping into my first “real” job, it was incredible having the opportunity to spend the day alongside so many people in positions that I aspire to be in.

Connect, Engage, Protect

Once Summit officially kicked off, each morning and afternoon focused on one core aspect of the Alliance’s work: connect, engage, and protect. The connect segment focused on misconceptions related to food. The Alliance team was able to provide a consumer focus group comprised of people that ate out at least 4 times a week. Attendees were able to hear why they choose the foods that they do related to labeling and what they associate those labels with.

Casey, Alliance communications manager and I having fun at one of the receptions.

The engage portion of the day was headlined by author Nina Teicholz, who spoke the importance of animal products in a healthy diet. It was great hearing from someone who was not biased related to this issue. She admitted that previously she was a believer that animal products were not good for your health, leading her to follow a vegetarian diet. She eventually discovered that this was not true and noted that she actually lost weight after introducing animal products back into her diet. The remainder of the day was broken into two breakout tracks: engaging with consumers, and engaging with the media to ensure the public has accurate information related to animal agriculture. I sat in on the media portion and was able to gain a better understanding of how to work with biased media.

Thursday morning was focused on protecting animal agriculture from people and organizations that are working tirelessly to end it. This was probably my favorite part of the event! Part of my responsibility with the Alliance was to monitor the news every morning for issues related to animal welfare and animal rights, and it was so cool to hear from experts on these issues in their fields. Diane Sullivan, an anti-poverty and affordable food advocate, closed the conference and was absolutely great to listen to. She brought up an important food topic, but one that I do not think of often. She shared her personal story and the hardships she’s faced securing food for her family. She was a great choice to wrap up Summit!

Two of the College Aggies winners and I showing people how to use the photo booth props!

College Aggies

I was fortunate enough to spend a good bit of time with the College Aggies Online winners during Summit. These winners are peers that I look up to and were absolutely deserving of the recognition they received. It was so cool meeting students from across the country and hearing about their campus experiences at their perspective schools. Hearing about how much they enjoyed participating in the College Aggies Online program has inspired me to participate in the contest this fall. I can’t wait to signup! 

Attending the 2017 Stakeholders Summit was an incredible experience and I am so thankful for having had the opportunity to attend! The event provided so many networking and learning opportunities which is super important for a college student like me! If you were not able to attend this year, I highly encourage you to signup for next year!



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.

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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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Farmers and ranchers can enter to win a FREE registration to the 2017 Stakeholders Summit!

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s Stakeholders Summit is one of the must-go-to events of the year! Set for May 3-4, 2017, the Summit will take place in Kansas City, Mo.

With the theme of “Connect to Protect Animal Ag: #ActionPlease2017,” the conference will build on the 2016 Summit’s focus of taking action to secure a bright future for animal agriculture. Speakers will give the audience actionable solutions to take home and implement on their farm or in their business.

Sound exciting? Are you a farmer or rancher who advocates for animal agriculture? Well here’s your chance to enter to win a FREE registration to the event!


Blog Contest:

Write a blog post telling your “Action, Please” story! This can be something you’ve done to help bridge the communication gap between farm and fork in your community and engage with consumers about animal agriculture.

What you need to do:

  • Write a 500-750 word blog post
  • Publish your blog post somewhere public before March 1
  • Promote your blog on Twitter and use the hashtag #AAA17 and tag @animalag

The Alliance will respond to your tweet to acknowledge it being entered into the contest. On March 2, 2017 we will announce the top three blog posts. Then, the top three will be up for public voting. The farmer that receives the most votes by the stated deadline will win a free registration to our Summit! The farmers in second and third place will receive a discounted registration to attend.


Instagram Photo Contest:

If photography is more your style, here’s what you can do to win a free registration:

  • Share your favorite farm photo on Instagram before March 1
  • Use the hashtag #AAA17
  • Tag @animalagalliance

The Alliance will comment on your photo to acknowledge it being entered into the contest. On March 2, 2017 we will announce the top three photos. Then, the top three will be up for public voting. The farmer that receives the most likes by the stated deadline will win a free registration to our Summit! The farmers in second and third place will receive a discounted registration to attend. We’ll also choose some of our favorite photos to use for Alliance social media graphics in the future!

If you know a farmer or rancher who should be at our Stakeholders Summit, tell them about this opportunity!


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Action, Please!: My pledge to take action for animal agriculture

Imagine you’re at the grocery store needing to pick up a carton of eggs to make one of your favorite recipes and when you get to the dairy aisle where the eggs are usually kept, the eggs are gone. You ask an employee stocking shelves nearby where the eggs are and he responds “we don’t sell eggs anymore” and points you in the direction of the vegan substitutes.

This was a dream I had a few nights ago. As a consumer myself who values food choices, I couldn’t help but think…what if this becomes reality one day?

Although I wish the dream was about something more joyful, it has only strengthened my passion for animal agriculture and my commitment to take action for the farmers and ranchers who work hard every day caring for their animals so we can have food choices in the grocery stores.

I am not the only one with a renewed drive to stand up for animal agriculture. Our 2016 Stakeholders Summit concluded on May 6, but the action is just beginning. With the theme of “Action, Please!”, attendees committed to taking action to better share the truth about agriculture.

Action, Please! Idea Board

Action, Please! Idea Board

Action pledges from our attendees included:

  • Being active on social media and incorporate video
  • Ensuring crisis management plans are in place and continuously updated
  • Engaging with the younger generation about agriculture
  • Engaging with the mainstream media about animal agriculture
  • Starting more in-person conversations about agriculture
  • And the list goes on!

With several attendees already creating social media accounts, I am excited to see more people passionate about animal agriculture sharing their passion with others.

My personal action pledges are: be more active on my personal social media, take advantage of any opportunity to become a better communicator and improve Alliance social media to reach and engage with more people.

Speakers discussed how to better engage with consumers, retailers and the media and how the agriculture community can enlist allies to help tell agriculture’s story and find solutions to pressing issues facing animal agriculture today.

One of my favorite quotes from Summit came from a Canadian dairy farmer who shared a photo on social media every day of 2015. He said, “to the consumer our side of the story doesn’t exist, unless we tell it.”

Andrew Campbell sharing his story at Summit.

Andrew Campbell sharing his story at Summit.

Soon after Andrew Campbell began sharing agriculture’s story, he experienced backlash from the animal rights community. He credited the support from the agriculture industry as the reason he was able to fight through the activist noise and continue sharing agriculture’s story.

“When you see the advocates out there – think how you can support them. It doesn’t have to be publicly,” said Campbell. “I was able to take that picture every day because the industry had my back.”

If you are interested in securing a bright future for animal agriculture, think about how you can support farmers, ranchers and fellow agvocates. Join the action and share your “Action, Please!” pledge in the comment section!

To follow the action on social media, search the hashtag #ActionPlease.aciton-please

If you were not able to attend the Stakeholders Summit, recorded speaker presentations will be posted here as they are available.

About the author:

I didn’t grow up on farm, but as soon as I met a farmer I knew I wanted to help tell their story. I am the communications coordinator at the Animal Agriculture Alliance responsible for social media, website management and member resources, bridging the communication gap between farm and fork and telling farmers’ stories every day.