I recently returned from the 2019 Annual Meat Conference (AMC) in Dallas, and I found it to be a very productive trip.

The conference, held March 3-5, was a great place to meet new people in the industry, reconnect with existing acquaintances, learn more about the latest meat and poultry products, and possibly the most enjoyable part of the conference, eating samples of those latest meat and poultry products.

But the conference also had a lot of great speakers and panelists to share their insights.

After spending three days at AMC, I spent the lion’s share of the next three days going over my notes from the sessions. As expected, a lot of good things were said. Some of the things that were said I fully agreed with, while other comments drew my skepticism. Nonetheless, they all got me thinking.

Here are 7 notable quotations from AMC:

  1. “Vegetarian and vegan numbers may be slightly creeping up, but when you take a look at that in the scale of the total population, it’s less of a threat than maybe the media or social media makes it seem. We just did a really large quantitative study, and self-reporting people said they were going to be eating more meat in 2019 than less. I think while it is an issue, and we should definitely keep our eyes on it, I think we sometimes have more going for us, and we need to give ourselves credit.” – Hilary Gerard, Cargill retail beef brand manager, addressing worries about the future consumption of meat and poultry
  2. “When she came into this latest century, she said, ‘You know what? I better figure this out, otherwise I am this century’s version of illiterate.’ I like her progressive mindset. I think that has helped me to say, ‘You know what, I also need to know what’s going on.’” – Kent Harrison, Tyson Fresh Meats vice president of marketing and premium programs, explaining his mother’s views on embracing Internet-based communication
  3. “The Trump administration has said since day one, ‘we don’t like big multi-lateral trade agreements; we like bilateral ones.’ Now all I’ll say is a bilateral one isn’t any good if you haven’t done it. They need to get off their tails and get these things done, because we are being put at competitive disadvantages now, because these other trade agreements are in effect and we’re not part of them.” – Steve Meyer, economist, Kerns & Associates, on trade deals
  4. “The risk of being out there far outweighs any risk of not doing it. I think that it is important for us to have those type of conversations.” – Laruen Arbogast, Virginia broiler farmer, responding to a question about the risks of opening your farm to others in efforts of transparency
  5. “If we get too complicated about what people have got to know before they buy a piece of meat, they’ll probably go to a plant. … Keep the message simple, I think, is a good way to get through to people,” Don Steen, Missouri turkey farmer, on the overuse of special labels on meat and poultry products
  6. “Companies are trying to reduce Saturday production. Would you believe it, that when the economy is good, some people don’t want to work in a chicken processing plant? So we’re trying to make it more attractive. … Some of the new production may take the place of Saturday production.” – Paul Aho, addressing the emergence of new poultry plants and current labor shortages
  7. “Are they a partner in the conversation? Yes. Are they a leader of the conversation? My perception is not that they are a leader of the conversation. They’ll weigh in, to be sure, because of that animal rights component, but they are not leading the charge.” – Alyssa Rebensdorf, counsel, Faegre Bakers Daniels LLP, when asked if animal rights groups were the driving force behind the promotion of plant-based proteins

What else was said?

These are just samples of comments made at AMC. To learn more about what was said at the conference, follow these links to related stories on WATTAgNet:

Cargill leader: Do fewer, do better social media posts

Major ASF outbreak in China would be a ‘nightmare’

US soy exports to China may never match prior levels

Cell-cultured food’s biggest hurdle: ‘The ick factor’

Trucker shortage likely to keep plaguing meat industry

NAMI, FMI CEOs: Protein demand not just a fad