MCLEAN, VA – Paul Kafer, vice president of engineering for Smithfield Foods, will be the keynote speaker at the Meat Industry Suppliers Alliance (M.I.S.A.) sessions to be held during the Food Processing Suppliers Association (F.P.S.A.) annual conference, set for March 10-13 in Cancun, Mexico.

”The main theme will be ‘It’s all about the plants’,” Mr. Kafer said of his presentation.

In choosing this topic Mr. Kafer said he wanted M.I.S.A. members to better understand and identify the concerns and needs at the plant level. “I will discuss capital philosophy, payback issues and how we should work together to identify real opportunities,” he added. He added he will conclude his presentation with remarks about “automation and issues that impact us and the suppliers.”

“We’re so pleased that Paul is speaking at the M.I.S.A. breakout session at this year’s annual conference”, said Scott Scriven, vice chairman of F.P.S.A. and president of Weber Inc. “His expertise in plant operations and his keen understanding of capital equipment investment strategies will benefit all members and guests attending his presentation. He brings a unique perspective to the food industry that members will benefit from hearing.”

Other M.I.S.A. sessions will feature “member-driven roundtables” where participants share some of their best ideas, or vent their challenges, in fast-paced, multiple-topic sessions.

The M.I.S.A. board has also dedicated a special session to discuss tradeshows in the meat industry, which have been much discussed recently. It is the goal of this session to discuss the current state of affairs and make recommendations about tradeshows in the future.

“It is time we take a greater role in deciding what tradeshows should be like in order to be responsive to our needs as well as the needs of the visitors to those shows”, said one board member in support of the need for such a session at the M.I.S.A. breakouts.

One other important feature of M.I.S.A. at the F.P.S.A. Conference is the traditional M.I.S.A. Foundation Banquet and Auction. “Every year, thanks to the money raised at the auction and the generous support of Siemens, we award $25,000 in scholarships to young people who are going to be the future leaders of our industry”, said Shawn Nicholas, president of Baader NA and chairman of M.I.S.A. “We raised over $30,000 at last year’s auction and from M.I.S.A. member contributions and we expect no less this year.”

Industry breakout sessions, such as that of the M.I.S.A. Council, are an integral part of the F.P.S.A. Conference program.

The F.P.S.A. Conference features sessions and roundtable discussions of critical issues in the meat, dairy, bakery, beverage and fruit and vegetable sectors.

Suppliers and processors interested in attending the F.P.S.A. Conference can register and find more information at