The 2017 National Institute for Animal Agriculture Annual Conference agenda April 3 to April 6, 2017 in Columbus is focusing on the globalization of food production with a prominent line–up of industry, academic and policy experts.
“No matter what business you are in, you have to realize we are in a more global marketplace than we have ever been,” said NIAA Annual Conference speaker, Mark McCully, VP Production, Certified Angus Beef. “With the speed of communications, and the transparency necessary today, we need to think globally starting right now. U.S. agriculture, being a traditional industry, has perhaps not thought big enough in the past. The NIAA Annual Conference will put a spotlight on this issue.”
McCully will present during the Wednesday, April 5, 2017 general session. He says his organization gives him insight into both the producer and consumer points of view.
“Certified Angus Beef is producer–owned and governed by a board of ranchers as a not–for–profit brand, with a mission of increasing the demand for our cattlemen. So, we have a producer vantage point, but we have succeeded by focusing on the perception of our consumer,” McCully said. “What does the consumer want and what will they pay for? That has been the business model for Certified Angus Beef. It is all about adjusting to what the consumer is saying. That consumer could be in Japan, Atlanta, or the Middle East. They all have different preferences, and they all create demand for U.S. cattle.’”
McCully’s presentation is titled “One Billion Pounds and International Trade.” The one billion pounds refers to exceeding sales of one billion pounds of Certified Angus Beef brand product in 2016, a milestone of growth for the brand. Looking toward the next billion pounds, McCully says there is room for tremendous U.S. growth, but there is also a demand for grain–fed high quality Certified Angus Beef® products around the world.
“We are looking at the new middle class, even an emerging upper class as some of these countries grow economically. They want high quality protein which is where a premium brand like ours comes in.”
If global business for the brand is roughly 15% today, McCully said “That is going to have to grow as we think of what two billion pounds of sales looks like.”
This is the first NIAA Annual Conference for McCully and he says he applauds the work of the organization. “They are providing a forum for important topics, creating a dialog and an opportunity for experiences to be shared. That, according to McCully, is where progress happens. “Collectively, it might just stretch our thinking,” he said.
After the Annual Conference closes, NIAA will host an added forum on April 6, on animal well–being,” Animal Care Standards – How Laws, Company Commitments, and Public Perception Have Changed the Landscape.”
Registration and a pre–conference Ag Tour will be offered on April 3. The event is at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel.
For agenda information and speakers, go to the NIAA website, www.animalagriculture.org.