July 20, 2012

Thoughts about industry meetings and conferences

Bill Mattos, President

California Poultry Federation


The California Poultry Federation hosts members, guests and allied colleagues at our Annual Meeting and Conference in September each year, and again this year our event (Sept. 13-14) is surrounded by water at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, CA, one of the most inspiring and beautiful areas of the world. CPF members love it in Monterey, and from the attendance of allied companies across America, they do too. But today, while I may talk a little bit about our speakers and conference program, my main reason for writing is to highlight the importance of these annual meetings for every state poultry industry group.

These meetings are a time when our member companies can set aside their competition for consumers and spend time in meetings and receptions to discuss politics, regulations, animal welfare, processing and other areas where we can find ways to improve our industry and move it forward. That is certainly the goal of the CPF and its member companies. I was hired 22 years ago, and although most of the board has changed somewhat, the men and women who set our policy still tell me that "our meetings aren’t held for partying, but to improve our companies and find ways to make us all profitable."

That direction still sits at the top of our mission and our long term strategy and goals, and I think many states have that same objective. Companies want to find ways to improve, while also coming together to educate and lobby our elected leaders and regulatory agencies, whether they are in our own state or in Washington, DC. Our annual meetings give us the opportunity to meet state and federal officials, the very people who make decisions that affect us directly. We want to get to know them, and we hope they want to get to know every one of us as well. We invite politicians as well as political writers and regulatory officials to give us their perspective on what is happening in their world. Then, during our breaks and receptions, we find time to further discuss how what they do affects the industry. Sometimes we thank them and many times we argue for fairness and common sense. We hope our interaction helps, and we know it’s important.

This year Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, the recently named Assistant Administrator of the USDA FSIS Office of Field Operations, will talk about his new work and his unique challenges; and we have already asked him to come prepared to update us on the changes we hope to see with some rules and regulations coming out of the FSIS. Dr. Engeljohn always listens, and our work with him over the years has been remarkable. We are excited that he will join us this year.

Political writer Dan Walters is returning again this year, and he is one of the most informed and keen writers on politics in California. Based in Sacramento with McClatchy "Bee" newspapers, Walters is by far one of the best political writers in the state.

National Chicken Council’s Vice President of Communications Tom Super will update our group on his latest efforts to bring sanity to the media and what he and other agricultural associations are doing to spread accurate messages to both consumers and Washington, DC politicians. Super brings 13 years of combined experience in strategic communications, public policy, politics and meat and poultry issues management to NCC’s senior management team. He is responsible for day-to-day media relations, media outreach, social media management and strategic communications planning to supplement the National Chicken Council’s legislative, regulatory, consumer education and marketing efforts.

Sherrie Rosenblatt, communications director for the National Turkey Federation has made similar presentations to our group, energizing us on the new directions we may be able to include in our local marketing and communications efforts.

Annual meetings make lots of sense for all of us in the poultry association community, and they bring us closer to the people who can sometimes make or break our industry. The more we come together the more we learn from each other; we hope this turns into higher profits and a growing industry.

Click here for the CPF Annual Conference registration form. Make sure to take a look at the deadlines for hotel reservations and Conference registration fees. And, look for more information later this month in the mail and on the CPF website.

Bill's Signature

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