When the supply chain faced unprecedented challenges causing unpredictable markets and temporarily bare grocery store shelves, Jared Achen and Katie Olthoff were able to turn an obstacle into an opportunity, and they’ll share their lessons learned from this experience in a keynote address at the 2021 Animal Agriculture Alliance Virtual Stakeholders Summit Summit. Dubbed the “Etsy of meat,” ChopLocal, founded by Olthoff and Achen, is an online marketplace that connects consumers with farmers to get their meat straight from the source. During their keynote address, Achen and Olthoff will take Virtual Summit attendees through their journey of pivoting during a pandemic and their goals for ChopLocal going forward.

“With a little ingenuity and entrepreneurship, Jared and Katie were successfully able to take a challenge presented by the beginning stages of the pandemic and find a solution that helps local farmers looking to sell and community members looking to buy food options that may have been at one point scarcely available at the grocery store,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “ChopLocal exemplifies what the 2021 Virtual Summit is all about – bringing everyone together to discuss issues and find solutions that will benefit the collective animal agriculture community.”

Turkey farmer Jared Achen is the owner and operator of his family’s farm in Wayland, Iowa where he raises 280,000 birds per year alongside his wife Tawnya and three children. Jared is a shareholder of West Liberty Foods, a turkey processing company and further processor of protein. He also sits on the board of Agri-Way Partners, a feed and grain operation with locations across southeast Iowa. At Agri-Way, Jared serves as a liaison between feed management, nutritionists and veterinarians to deliver a quality product to their customers. Jared is a 2011 graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business.

Katie Olthoff is a long-time advocate for agriculture. Prior to joining ChopLocal, she served as the senior director of communications at the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Katie is the author of a non-fiction children’s book series about agriculture, the “My Family’s Farm” series. She resides in Stanhope, Iowa with her husband, Bart, and three children. Her family raises cattle and turkeys.

The Alliance’s annual Summit brings together thought leaders in the agriculture and food industries to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas to connect everyone along the food chain, engage influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture. The 2021 event, themed “Obstacles to Opportunities,” is scheduled for May 5-6 with preconference webinars planned for the five business days prior, beginning Wednesday, April 28.

The Virtual Summit agenda featuring the exciting and high-caliber speakers you can expect to see at the 2021 event has been posted on the Virtual Summit registration website. Sessions will highlight ways to position animal agriculture as a path forward to climate neutrality, how to elevate the voices of farmers in dialogues surrounding food and agriculture, and strategies for virtual stakeholder and influencer engagement.

Be sure to check the Virtual Summit website for the most up-to-date information and to register. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA21 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact summit@animalagalliance.org or call (703) 562-5160.

Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance