When you cover the poultry and animal feed industries, you hear people say a lot of interesting things.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s fun to go through articles from the past year, and remember some of the things that were said.

About a year ago, I did a blog post about what I viewed as the most memorable quotes from 2018. I had fun writing it, and I hope the readers enjoyed it as well. So here are my ten favorite quotes from industry events in 2019, in no particular order:

  1. “Productivity growth is the cornerstone of sustainability. Had we not innovated since 1970, 11 million more feedlot cattle, 30 million more market hogs and 7 billion more broilers would have been needed to produce the amount of beef pork and chicken U.S. consumers actually consumed last year.” – Jayson Lusk, head of Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics, testifying to U.S. senators about the need for funds for research to improve poultry and livestock productivity
  2. “I think there’s too much in the U.S. when a company merges with another company, and they make it like them, and often times destroy it. There’s a formula that makes a company successful of cultures and values, and you’ve got to let those stay in place. … Why Perdue-ize them?” -- Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms, explaining the company’s approach to acquiring Niman Ranch
  3. “I will absolutely argue that one of the reasons for our improved margins is our people. It’s actually driven more revenues than we’ve invested in our people.” – Jayson Penn, Pilgrim’s Pride CEO, explaining the bottom-line benefits to employee raises
  4. “I think the ‘ick factor’ is the challenge for cell-based meats. I don’t think it’s the regulatory environment.” – Alyssa Rebensdorf, counsel, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, discussing cell-cultured foods at the Annual Meat Conference
  5. “We are the face of the brand, the face of the customer. But ultimately, the care of the animal is in your hands, so if you can help us with that story and how we can communicate that, craft that and share that with the customers – our customers as well as yours – that helps us kind of set the tone for where the conversation goes, rather than letting other groups set the tone of the conversation for us.” – David Guilhaus, senior manager of food safety, speaking at the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit
  6. “We have businesses in the United States that need employees and we have people who want to come here, and we don’t get it accomplished. It should be a perfect marriage and it doesn’t happen. What’s needed is a streamlined visa approval – one that works.” -- National Turkey Federation Vice Chairman Ron Kardel, telling members of Congress about the need for migrant workers in the U.S. turkey industry
  7. “We are very pleased there is a mini chicken sandwich war going on, between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A. We hope that war expands, and other people get involved in it.” – Sanderson Farms CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. on the chicken sandwich feud
  8. “I think African swine fever virus entering the United States through contaminated feed is a daily risk,” Dee said. “It hasn’t happened yet, as far as jumping into pigs, but based on the survival data in feed, and the amount of materials that we import from China of this high-risk nature, I’m quite certain that the virus has entered the country. It just has not yet jumped into pigs.” – Scott Dee, Pipestone Veterinary Services director of research, about the possible presence of African swine fever in the U.S.
  9. “We were all set to depopulate some infected farms. However, the people were furloughed in USDA who were responsible for issuing all of the equipment necessary to do that work, so all it did is it left several hundred thousand birds in the environment continuing to shed virus for several weeks while we worked through all that paperwork.” – David Will, general manager of Chino Valley Ranchers, telling U.S. House members about the problems a partial government shutdown caused during the virulent Newcastle disease outbreak
  10. “I think for most people who do that sort of thing (raising farm animals) for a living, they are kind of attached to their animals and their property. That's how they feel about the whole process and they're proud of what they do. I don't think they go, ‘Come here, chicken. I’ll kick your ass.’” – Thomas (no last name offered), focus group member at Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, on his views about farm animal care and welfare