The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) announced that Fair Oaks Farms CEO Gary Corbett will headline the annual Animal Care and Handling Conference for the Food Industry, October 13-14, 2016, at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Corbett is a cofounder of Indiana-based Fair Oaks Farms and has been an innovator in interfacing with the public about animal agriculture. The operation’s glass walls and trained tour guides offer schoolchildren and the public at large an up-close look at meat and dairy production. Corbett founded the company ten years ago after holding senior management positions with Dean Foods, Land O’Lakes and Swiss Valley.

The annual conference is the leading animal welfare educational opportunity for meat companies, their customers and those involved in the production and management of livestock and meat products. Educational sessions are designed to help companies improve productivity, efficiency and product quality, and will offer an overview of the most current humane handling and stunning practices.

Popular conference instructor Temple Grandin, Ph.D., of Colorado State University and Grandin Livestock Handling Systems, will return and offer a timely overview of just published European research that details how to distinguish conscious from unconscious animals by stunning method. She will also deliver general talks on stunning and handling and conduct an “ABCs” pre-conference session for those attendees new to livestock handling.

The conference will feature full Beef and Pork Tracks, as well as mini-tracks on Poultry and Management and Policy. Other featured speakers include USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Humane Handling Enforcement Coordinator Patty Bennett, DVM, who will offer a regulatory and enforcement update; Holly Mockus, product manager at Alchemy Systems, who will speak about training; Chuck Bildstein, product specialist at Bunzl, who will offer an overview of stunner maintenance; and Collette Kaster, recently appointed executive director of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, who will offer an organizational update.

An Issues, Answers and Actions session will be featured during lunch October 13 to encourage idea exchanges and discussion among participants. The conference will close with a Bullet Session where speakers will share short presentations about programs and procedures they use to improve animal handling and stunning in plants.

Co-sponsors of the conference include: American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Meat Processors, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Meat Science Association, Animal Agriculture Alliance, Canadian Meat Council, Chicago Midwest Meat Association, Food Marketing Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Dairy FARM Program, National Grocers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization Inc., Southeastern Meat Association, Southwest Meat Association and USPoultry. 

Registration for the conference is $575 for members registering before September 16 2016, and $625 after September 16; $500 when three or more members register together before September 16 and $575 after September 16; $495 for academics; and $225 for government officials.

The special NAMI hotel rate is $165 and the hotel cutoff is September 17, after which time rooms are available on a space and rate available basis. To make reservations please book online here or call The Westin Crown Center directly at (816) 474-4400 and request the NAMI Animal Care and Handling rate.

Source: NAMI