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January 2008

Conference on Animal Ag and Communities

Beth Stuever
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Tension between livestock producers and neighbors has grown in parts of rural Michigan, leaving community leaders looking for solutions. How can neighbors and local officials work together to ensure that livestock producers and their neighbors get a fair shake?

That’s the question that experts from across the country will address during Balancing Animal Agriculture and Communities, a one-day conference aimed at bridging the gap in understanding between animal agriculture producers, their neighbors and community leaders.
“This is not an easy topic to tackle,” Wendy Powers, chair of the conference committee, says. “That’s why we’re bringing in researchers from across the country to talk about a variety of issues that affect decision makers.”

Topics include air emissions effects on human and environmental health, aquatic ecosystem integrity, real estate value, and quality of life. In all cases, scientists will share their perspectives on the comparative effects of various systems. In addition, David Hollister, former Lansing mayor and president of the Prima Civitas Foundation, will moderate a session that explores the options and tradeoffs of various technologies and farm management systems.

Township, county and state government officials are encouraged to attend the conference as well as farmers and representatives from environmental, food and agriculture groups.

Powers says she and her 22-person planning committee, which consists of a rural sociologist, economists, animal scientists, sustainable agriculture specialists and water experts, hope to open up lines of communication between livestock farmers and their neighbors.
“This conference isn’t designed to end the debate but rather to start the conversation,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for people with differing viewpoints to learn from experts in various disciplines as well as from one another.”

The day will wrap up with a “tell us what you think” session allowing participants to give real-time feedback about issues covered throughout the day.

You can learn more about Balancing Animal Agriculture and Communities at <http://www.animalagteam.msu.edu>. You can register on the Web site or by calling Faye Watson at (517) 353-3174.

Don’t miss these interesting speakers!

  • Roger McClellan, former president of Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology
  • George Vellidis, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, University of Georgia
  • Glynn Tonsor, assistant professor of agricultural economics, MSU
  • Jeff Sharp, associate professor of rural sociology, The Ohio State University
  • Richard Hegg, national program leader, plant and animal systems, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • William Flinn, director of the Social Responsibility Initiative, The Ohio State University
  • Moderators: David Hollister, president of Prima Civitas Foundation; Rep. Richard Ball, Bennington Township and District 85; Frank Fear, senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU.

For a complete agenda, visit <www.animalagteam.msu.edu>.

Register early and save!

Balancing Animal Ag and Communities
February 29, 2008
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
55 South Harrison Road
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1022

For overnight accommodations and directions, call (800) 875-5090.
Registration fees for the conference are $115. Register before January 11 and pay only $95! To register, visit <http://www.animalagteam.msu.edu> or call Faye Watson at (517) 353-3174.





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