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Charlie Powell, Washington State University, public information officer
Topic: Instantaneous communications and the vulnerabilities of animal industries
Why is this topic so important?

Fundamentally it comes down to one important fact: cattlemen produce a product that people put directly in their mouth. Anytime there is information that will cause a consumer to doubt the safety or quality of any product they put in their mouth, or their children’s mouth, it can become a crisis instantaneously today.

It’s import for people to realize we don’t have the luxury of a traditional news cycle or wait for people to arrive that are professional journalists. Any critics can become a journalist. As long as they have access to electricity and the Internet, they have as much access to an audience as anybody who has ever lived on earth.

(AT WSU) We had triplet calves born on St. Patrick’s Day, of the same sex to a first-calf heifer. We put up a news release, and a colleague put up a Tweet, and within 26 minutes it was in Malaysia.

Cattlemen are very good at raising cattle, but they’re not communication experts and the communications and media world chews up people and spits them out, and not just cattlemen.

What do you hope people will take away from your presentation?
I hope people will take away the fact that if things begin to look as if they will develop into a crisis, 80 percent of the time everything that was developed into a crisis was known ahead of time. Anything that can threaten your business, you already know about it.


Secondly, to realize any person you come into contact with may be recording your voice, image and can show up on a blog or a website for whatever purposes. It may be wrong, unethical or even illegal, but it is not stopping people from doing it.

Tracey Erickson, Certified Angus Beef vice president
Topic: Bridging the gap from producer to consumer
Why is this topic so important?

This topic has been important and relevant for many years and will continue to be even for today. The consumer is further removed from the production side of our business, and it becomes important to connect to them and make sure we’re telling our story in a positive manner and to deliver what they need to hear and want to hear.

What do you hope people will take away from the presentation?
I suppose my hope would be a deeper level of understanding of what the consumer is looking for today and really how CAB, as essentially the brand the audience owns, is working to bridge those gaps, and communicate a high- quality product they can believe in, and be excited about consuming beef products.

Lee Dickerson, Purina Mills LLC, director of national accounts and cattle distribution
Topic: Sustained nutrition and lifetime performance
Why is this topic so important?

Fetal or developmental programming and the importance of consistent nutrition is of increasing interest. As cattle producers, we have long been concerned about the calf once born and getting the dam to breed back. However, there is increasing evidence that adequate nutrition from conception is critical for the current calf nursing the cow, the calf in utero and for subsequent generations to come.

What do you hope people will take away from the presentation?
Sustained nutrition from conception through the life of the dam and her calves can have significant impact on current and future performance and profitability of the cow-calf producer. In a recent beef publication, the author made a statement that I believe to be very true, “They Are What Mama Eats.”  end mark