Poultry producers from across the country will again meet in Atlanta in January 2009 for the International Poultry Expo (IPE) and International Feed Expo.

The expo will take place January 28 to 30 at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) for its 61st incarnation. The show is considered one of the poultry industry’s largest displays of technology, equipment, supplies and services used in production and processing. In 2008, 16,043 attended the expo from across the United States with another 3,986 people coming from overseas.

The full range of opportunities available at the IPE begins on January 26 with the 2009 International Poultry Scientific Forum. Sponsored by the Southern Poultry Science Society, the Southern Conference on Avian Diseases, and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the forum presents information on industry topics such as environmental management, nutrition, physiology, pathology, processing and products, and avian diseases.

The Animal Agriculture Environmental Sustainability Summit begins on January 27 in C Hall. The summit will cover a range of topics including, “How Being Green Can Positively Affect Your Company’s Bottom Line,” “An Industry Sustainability Case Study,” “On-Farm Sustainability: A Producer’s Case Study,” “Environmental Sustainability Initiatives Panel: Recycling Through Rendering, Energy Conservation, Solid Waste Management and Minimization, Water Conservation and Re-Use, Environmental Management Systems,” and others.

The summit is sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, National Renderers Association, Animal Agriculture Alliance, United Egg Producers, National Pork Producers Council, and American Feed Industry Association.

“Animal agriculture has always led the way as a steward of the environment,” says Vernon Rowe of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., program committee co-chairman. “This important conference will focus on the technologies and innovations that will enable us to continue that stewardship.”

The Pet Food Regulatory and Technical Conference will also take place concurrently with the IPE. The program will focus on “Understanding Emerging Trends in the Pet Food Industry” and how these issues can be addressed through regulatory and technical approaches. Much has changed in the past 18 months in the pet-food industry from the impact of melamine to ingredient costs. Attendees to this conference will also have free admission to the IPE.

The IPE will have its own programs during the week. The education program takes place on January 29. The first course will be “Social Responsibility in the Poultry Industry.” The course will have speakers representing the foodservice and poultry industries that will discuss issues concerning food safety, animal welfare, employee relations, the environment and community relations.

“Industry Outlook: An Executive Management Perspective” follows the social responsibility course. During the session, a currently unnamed industry executive will provide a “state of the industry” address, discussing how issues such as grain markets, energy costs, exports and the financial markets impact the industry. Both sessions are free to attendees and exhibitors of IPE.

Ahead of the curve

John Starkey, president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, says the focus of the IPE is always on the newest technology and services for the poultry industry. However, economics and sustainability have gained more of the spotlight in recent years.

“Certainly the sustainability summit is one we’re pushing hard,” Starkey says, adding that many of the poultry industry’s biggest players, such as Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride, will be present at the IPE. There will also be a market intelligence summit to help producers and processors make the most of the current economic situation.

Starkey acknowledges today’s tough economy in general and the poultry industry in particular. But that hasn’t stopped the growth of activity surrounding the IPE. In fact the show has already surpassed the amount of exhibitor space used last year.

“People are recognizing there is a lot going on that week, it’s a convenient gathering place,” Starkey says. “We have to make sure decision-makers get in front of our exhibitors.” The fact that the National Chicken Council will hold its board meeting at the show is a sign that the decision-makers will be there.

Really cleaning up

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) was the center of attention for more than shows and expos after a tornado hit Atlanta on March 14, damaging the convention center.

The GWCC celebrated its official reopening and the end of its repair just 42 days after the storm. All three buildings were repaired with a total of 1,100 workers laboring around the clock.

“We are so delighted to be able to announce that all of our facilities are once again open for business,” said Dan Graveline, executive director of the GWCC Authority in April. “Looking at the damage following March 14, we had no idea how long it might take before we could reopen. And here we are a short 42 days later fully operational. It is truly amazing.”

The GWCC has also announced that the center received many upgrades during the construction. All of the concourse areas for buildings A and B have new ceiling tiles that are more energy-efficient, create better lighting because of their reflectivity and provide better acoustics. Building A now has energy-efficient safety glass. New fabric wall panels in the concourses provide better acoustics. The Lower A/B Connector also has new energy-efficient lighting and more than 30 escalators have been refurbished or replaced for greater efficiency. The new roofs over buildings A, B and C concourses will meet new energy codes which will enhance energy-efficiency.