On January 12, industry leaders, government professionals and members of academia gathered on Colorado State University’s Fort Collins campus to discuss domestic and international livestock and food production as part of the 8th annual International Livestock Forum (ILF). Hosted by the Department of Animal Sciences, in partnership with the National Western Stock Show, the forum returned in a modified form to Fort Collins after going virtual in 2021. The International Livestock Forum again selected 20 student fellows to participate in this two-day intensive educational program. This year, the selected student fellows represented 14 universities and eight countries.
The theme of the 2022 ILF was “Preparing for the Future of the Livestock and Meat Industries: A Call to Action,” and keynote speakers covered topics that included current and future industry challenges and opportunities, sustainability, supply chain issues and policy. Speakers represented various sectors of the livestock and meat industries and included Randy Blach from CattleFax, Dan Halstrom from the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Kim Stackhouse-Lawson from Colorado State University’s AgNext, and former USDA officials Greg Ibach from the University of Nebraska and Mindy Brashears from Texas Tech University.
The annual International Livestock Forum focuses on bringing together student fellows from around the globe together with industry leaders to explore topics impacting the global livestock and meat industries.
“As the livestock and meat industries prepare for the future ahead, it is imperative that we engage our future leaders in these critical conversations,” said Jennifer Martin, assistant professor of animal sciences and coordinator of the student program.
Between speakers, breakout sessions engaged participants in discussions about consumer perceptions, logistics and transportation services, meat supply chain challenges, and foreign animal disease. Following the formal program, a reception provided an opportunity for attendees to continue to network with scientists and leaders alike.
Connections made and lessons learned through the ILF are expected to impact student fellows’ careers and futures in innumerable ways. Problems of the future, CattleFax’s Blach noted, will be solved by those in attendance.
The event was made possible by the support of numerous sponsors, including CoBank, the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Colorado Livestock Association.