Farmers, veterinarians and others involved in the agrifood industry would do well to adopt a new job description.

Rick Sibbel, DVM, may have the formal job title of president and owner of Executive Veterinary & Health Solutions, but he indicated that might not be the best description of what he does for a living.

While speaking on April 6 during the Animal Agriculture Alliance pre-summit webinar, “Be Informed: Current Trends in Animal Welfare and Responsible Antibiotic Use,” Sibbel recalled a three-hour airplane ride, in which he sat by a California business owner.

This passenger had recently “changed everything about her meals for her employees,” he explained. And during the course of their conversation, she asked Sibbel what kind of veterinarian he was.

His answer was: “I’m a passionate ambassador for your food supply.”

“She didn’t know how to respond. She didn’t know what to say. Literally, that morphed into a conversation that changed a whole bunch of things,” said Sibbel.

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That conversation was very productive, and it opened that woman’s eyes to not only the veterinary trade, but the overall animal agriculture industry.

“When we got done, she looked and me and she said, ‘I’ve never, ever thought of a veterinarian managing my food supply,’” he said. “Well, that’s pretty disruptive.”

Sibbel said he thinks this is a good attitude to have and a good way for those in the industry to think of themselves. And perhaps more importantly, a sentiment that agrifood professionals should share with the common consumer.

“I think there’s a whole bunch of us in agriculture, that if we sort of move down that path, we can make a difference, one person at a time,” said Sibbel.

Four more webinars will be held in advance of the 2022 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, scheduled for May 11-12.