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Educational experience

by Kimberlie Clyma
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Meat-industry professionals are invited to the Annual Meat Conference Feb. 20-22 in Dallas, Texas, for what promises to be a complete educational experience. The conference will feature new marketing approaches, consumer research, sustainability best practices, health and wellness resources, food-safety preparedness and regulatory updates.

The three-day conference, held at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, is organized by the American Meat Institute and Food Marketing Institute, with support from the National Chicken Council, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American Lamb Board, Pork Checkoff and the National Turkey Federation.

Visitors are invited to attend handson workshops, in-depth market research presentations, interactive panel discussions and informative presentations by experts from inside and outside the industry.

In addition to conference sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to learn from the Innovative Technology Solutions tech fair and Product Tasting reception. The tech fair exhibition features innovative products and services ranging from ingredients to packaging, scales to labeling equipment. Innovation Technology Solutions will be open for viewing during breakfast and lunch on Monday, Feb. 21. The Product Tasting reception, to be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, will feature more than 50 exhibitors. The event is a “feast of great tastes, showcasing some of the newest and most innovative meat and poultry products in the retail marketplace.”

The conference will kick off Sunday, Feb. 20, with a keynote address from former NFL Head Coach Brian Billick. Billick’s presentation, “Building a ‘We’ Environment in an ‘I’ World” will share his methods for bringing teams together to focus on achieving common goals. This session will be followed by a presentation by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., designer of animal-handling facilities, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, renowned author on autism and contributing editor to Meat&Poultry magazine. Dr. Grandin will speak about her life with autism and her work in improving animal welfare in her session titled, “Autism Meets Animal Agriculture: How Temple Grandin Changed the Way We View Livestock.”

Monday will start with an opening general session called “The Economy and its Impact on your Business” presented by Steve Meyer, Ph.D., president of Paragon Economics and Randy Blach, executive vice president, Cattle-Fax, Inc. Concurrent workshops will be held in the late morning and afternoon on Monday, as well as Tuesday morning. Prior to the Monday evening Product Tasting reception, Kevin Coupe, the “content guy” from MorningNewsBeat.com  , will speak about “Putting the Meat on a Strategic Vision.” He will offer focused, tangible and real-world examples of how to develop and disseminate a message to consumers that can build sales and profits. Tuesday will open with concurrent workshops before two general sessions to wrap up the conference. First, Anne-Marie Roerink from 210 Analytics will present the sixth annual “Power of Meat” research, which tracks consumer preferences related to the meat case, packaging and meat preparation. The presentation is intended to give the audience “an in-depth look at meat through the shoppers’ eyes.”

To close the conference, Jim Donald, president and CEO of Haggen Inc., will present “Leadership: Act Like You Own It.” Having begun his career as a trainee with Publix Super Markets Inc. and risen through the ranks of Albertsons, Walmart and Safeway, Donald h a s helped companies enjoy increased g row t h and performance. Donald cites his experience at the helm of Starbucks, one of the most successful companies and business models in history, to provide ideas and tips on how to get employees to act as if they were owners of their businesses. He will share his strategies to help everyone realize incremental growth in their perspective businesses to wrap up the three days of meat education in Dallas.

To register for the show, make hotel reservations, or for more information, go to www.meatconference.com .
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