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Q&A: Animal Science Annual Meeting A Success

The 2010 Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), Poultry Science Association (PSA), Asociación Mexicana de Producción Animal (AMPA), Canadian Society of Animal Science (CSAS), American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), and ASAS Western Section (WSASAS) were held together July 11–15 in Denver.

The 2010 Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), Poultry Science Association (PSA), Asociación Mexicana de Producción Animal (AMPA), Canadian Society of Animal Science (CSAS), American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), and ASAS Western Section (WSASAS) were held together July 11–15 in Denver. The meeting attracted more than 3,500 scientists and researchers from around the world.

Food Manufacturing spoke to representatives from three attending associations — Dr. Michael Lilburn, PhD, Incoming President of PSA; Jim Linn, PhD, President of ADSA; Phillip Tong, PhD, Past President of ADSA and Meghan Wulster-Radcliff, PhD, Executive Director of ASAS — to get their take on this year’s joint annual meeting.

Q: What motivated your association to join with others in an annual meeting? How does it benefit each organization?

Lilburn: PSA members are largely engaged in academic research involving poultry species or in the commercial production of poultry meat or eggs. While all the agriculturally important species are different, the principles of physiology and nutrition have a common base across all species. In addition, there are common threads of environmental and animal welfare concerns that are similar across many species. A joint meeting allows for our membership to enjoy broader perspectives and the respective society boards to have a discussion forum for issues common to all species used in commercial production.

Tong: There are economics of scale and greater administrative efficiency gained which helps hold down the cost of offering such a meeting. It also helps in our marketing of the meeting both for exhibitors and attendees. But most importantly the benefit to our organization is that we are responding to member interests to jointly deliver quality programming.

Wulster-Radcliffe: Joining together is a member benefit; it decreases travel, increases attendance, increases the diversity and the quality of the scientific program and reduces the cost of the meeting, so joining together is a win-win situation for everyone!

Q: What was the overall goal of JAM 2010?

Linn: The goal was to have a place where members could come and share their research results with other scientists from across the globe. It also was a place where members socialized with old friends and met new ones. While the goal was science education, the social aspects of the annual meeting were also important. 

Tong: To me, it was mostly about providing a forum for exchange of scientific information through oral and poster presentations and the many smaller committee and board meetings. Additionally, programs were conducted to recognize achievement on behalf of our societies and society leadership was able to dialogue with membership.

Q: What would you say were the highlights of this year’s JAM? What implications do these discussions have for your organization as well as the food science and production sectors as a whole?

Lilburn: Dr. Roger Beachy, the newly appointed head of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), gave an invited lecture on the federal approach to funding animal research. His perspective on the federal vision for agricultural research was certainly an important message for our membership to hear.

Tong: There were many, including presentations on Johne’s disease, a very significant livestock disease impacting dairy and beef cattle as well as sheep and goats around the world. It is incurable and causes significant economic losses for many producers. The Johne’s Disease Integrated Program (JDIP) is a broad-based international consortium working aggressively to help producers address the disease. JDIP provides competitive grants to address priority issues related to the disease, and much of the funding for the program comes through a grant from NIFA. This year JDIP met in conjunction with the JAM.

Two significant things about this were that significant research findings were reported that will advance work in the field and that Dr. Beachy attended several of the presentations. In his presentation to the JAM, he cited JDIP as an excellent example of the type of collaborative work that NIFA seeks to support as we work to address significant challenges facing agriculture now and in the future.

Q: What was the most important topic discussed at JAM that pertained specifically to your association, and can you give an overview of the discussion?

Linn: As world population grows and the need for food increases, the science reported at this meeting will help improve the efficiency and safety of food production in the years ahead. The prediction that doubling the current food production supply will be needed by 2040 to feed the world’s population means technology has to advance at a commensurable rate. The exchange of science information and testing of new hypotheses in both the science and social arenas will be needed to achieve this goal.

Wulster-Radcliffe: I think the meeting as whole sent the message that we should make policy and production decisions based on sound science!

Q: What do you have planned as far as next year’s annual meeting for your organization?

Lilburn: Next year, the PSA is planning a joint meeting with the American Association of Avian Pathologists, the poultry veterinary branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The goals for the combined meeting are similar to our goals for the JAM 2010 meeting.

Linn: We will be developing next year’s program this fall and winter. The success of this year’s meeting will be difficult to duplicate, but our goal is provide the best venue and most current science to membership every year.

Wulster-Radcliffe: Next year we meet jointly with ADSA in New Orleans. We will be slightly smaller with just two organizations, but that makes it more intimate and increases the time everyone has for networking.

Q: Is there any other information you would like us to know about your organization or JAM 2010?

Lilburn: While the JAM meetings are annual, singular events, the PSA, ADSA, and ASAS collaborate year round in joint activities via our collective memberships in the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS), an organization founded by the three aforementioned animal societies. Through FASS, we contribute to the financial support of a scientific liaison office in Washington, D.C., as well as joint committees comprised of individuals from all three societies. In this fashion, we are continually engaged and updated on issues that are important and common to all three animal groups.

Interviews by Lindsey Coblentz, Associate Editor