Danelle Bickett-Weddlefrom

Danelle Bickett-Weddlefrom the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University will talk at the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit about the impact foreign animal diseases could have on the cattle business.

Members of the cattle industry are invited to attend the annual Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit hosted by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Dec. 5 and 6 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

The lineup will tackle diverse topics such as fake meat, foreign animal diseases, and how to protect our industry against legal attacks. In addition to a large tradeshow Thursday, attendees will dive deep into issues affecting Iowa’s cattle industry.

Andy Curliss, CEO of North Carolina Pork Council, will headline the event starting at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

With his presentation titled “Up close and personal: How unfair attacks hurt us all,” Curliss will take attendees through his experience dealing with nuisance lawsuits in North Carolina and give input on how to protect your livelihood.

More than two dozen nuisance lawsuits in North Carolina have been filed against Murphy Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. Jurors have ruled against the pork company in all five cases that have made it through the court system. More than $550 million in penalties have been awarded to defendants.

Although the individual farmers are not the ones being sued, they are being affected all the same. Curliss will share the story of Joey Carter, a hog farmer who not only met the requirements of the law in North Carolina, he exceeded them. But members of a nearby housing development, which was built after the hog barns, took part in a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by the same lawyers who are well-known for filling class-action lawsuits regarding asbestos, eventually led to the depopulation of Carter’s barns.

Breakout sessions in the afternoon brings in the education component. This year the cattlemen’s association is offering two simultaneous sessions.

One titled “Fake Meat: The Industry Responds” will feature Danielle Beck if the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who will share the strategies used by the check off and policy teams at NCBA as they advocate for beef as the No. 1 protein on consumers’ minds and plates.

The other session is “Halt! Impact an FMD Could Have on Your Cattle Business.” With African swine fever threatening the world’s hog operations, now is a good time to consider what would happen if a similar disease were to affect Iowa’s cattle industry.

The session will be led by Dr. Andrew Hennefent, the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s emergency management coordinator, and Dr. Danelle Bickett-Weddle from the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University.

They will lead attendees through a mock “stand-still order.” In the case of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the state, movement (transportation) of all susceptible livestock would be halted for a minimum of 72 hours. When movement resumes, it would be on a permit-only basis for those in areas where the disease is present. Attendees will be asked to think through a variety of scenarios on their farm and learn what will be required in order to receive a movement permit.

Following the speakers, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will hold policy committee meetings, which are are open to all members. Attendees will review expiring policies, hear updates on hot topics in the industry, and debate new policies.

Throughout the year, ICA staff and leaders compile input on a variety of topics affecting the cattle industry. From transportation to taxes and everything in between, the issues cattlemen are dealing with need constant attention.

Policy committee meetings are the culmination of the policy development process, where our position on issues is solidified, guiding Iowa Cattlemen staff and leaders’ advocacy work throughout the next year. Policies developed in these meetings are ratified during the annual meeting the following day.

In preparation for the policy committee meetings, the feedlot council, cow-calf council, and various task forces will meet to gather information.

Topics that are expected to be discussed this year include Iowa’s Green and Gold Tag Preconditioned programs, traceability, and cattle marketing. Attendees will hear a summary of the association’s October cattle marketing listening sessions, and work on related policy to carry forward to the NCBA convention in early 2020.

Thursday’s events will cap off with the traditional Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation Banquet.

A fundraiser auction will accompany presentations honoring Iowa’s outstanding cattlemen and women, both young and old. Cattle industry supporters are encouraged to support the foundation through the auction, in person or online.

Auction items will be posted online at iowacattlemensfoundation.org.

Friday morning, Dec. 6, will begin with a breakfast specifically for association board members and county board members.

Following breakfast, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will hold its annual meeting, followed by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Registration is available online at www.iacattlemen.org/leadershipsummitattendeeregistration.aspx.

Hotel rooms can be reserved at www.prairiemeadows.com using group code 12042019IOW or by calling 515-957-3000.

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