The conference, to be held April 15–17 in Louisville, Ky., will focus on two key factors — technology and values — that need to marry to make feeding the world's growing global population a consumer-acceptable reality. Speakers at the conference, "Animal Agriculture's Vision to Feed the World: Merging Values and Technology," will address and delve deep into the key areas of meeting the demand for food through technology and knowledge, using technology and values to tackle catastrophic disease events and natural disasters, and translating and communicating advancements in agriculture to consumers. "The past two conferences brought these two topics — technology and consumer values — to the forefront, and we need to examine the best ways to merge the two for the benefit of consumers, animal agriculture and a growing hungry world," said Dr. Robert Fourdraine, co-chair of the conference.
Fourdraine said that speakers will share innovative technologies — those available today and others in the pipeline — that can advance food production and will navigate challenging and emotionally charged issues tied to food production. Speakers will also present information that unpins the need to communicate with consumers in transparent, consumer-understood, consumer-friendly words and terms so consumers feel informed.
He points to a 2012 "Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology" survey that posed the question "What is your overall impression of using animal biotechnology with animals that produce food products such as meat, milk and eggs?" The top two reasons given by those comprising the 51 percent who were "neutral" or "unfavorable" to animal biotechnology being used were "don't have enough information" and "don't understand the benefits of using biotechnology with animals."
NIAA's annual conference kicks off Monday, April 15, with an all-day optional tour. The conference's general opening session starts at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 16, followed by committee and council meetings. Additional council meetings will take place on Wednesday, April 17, with the conference wrapping up by 4:30 p.m. with the closing general session.