Invited Speakers


Sandra Vijn
World Wildlife Fund

Sandra Vijn is a director of the Sustainable Food Team of the World Wildlife Fund, focused on sustainable production of animal proteins. She works with the US dairy industry to develop sustainability tools for farmers, engages in multi-stakeholder fora to identify sustainable feed and manure solutions for livestock, and most recently is supporting the International Egg Commission set up a global roundtable for sustainable eggs.  

Presentation: Feeding the Planet – Animal Protein Challenges 
Wednesday Morning Plenary
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Frank Mitloehner
UC Davis

Dr. Frank Mitloehner is a Professor and Air Quality Specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis.  He received his MS degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Leipzig, Germany, and his PhD degree in Animal Science from Texas Technical University.

Dr. Mitloehner is an expert for agricultural air quality, livestock housing and husbandry. He has served as chairman of a multi-stakeholder partnership, titled LEAP, which is hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the goal to benchmark the environmental footprint of livestock production. He served as workgroup member on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and as member on the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee on “A Framework for Assessing the Health, Environmental, and Social Effects of the Food System.”

Presentation: Sustainable Intensification: How to Satisfy the Rising Demand for Animal Protein without Depleting Natural Resources
Wednesday Morning Plenary
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Terry O’Reilly
CBC Radio One

Terry began his career in radio and then went on to become an award-winning copywriter for a number of Toronto advertising agencies. He created campaigns for many of the top brands in the country, including Labatt, Molson, Bell and The Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1990, Terry co-founded Pirate Radio & Television with a staff of 50, with 8 recording studios in Toronto and New York City. In demand as a keynote speaker, Terry talks about key marketing issues to companies and organizations in all sectors.

When Terry’s not creating advertising, he’s talking about it as the host of the award-winning CBC Radio One/Sirius Satellite/WBEZ Chicago radio show, “Under The Influence,” which was the follow-up to the hit series, “The Age of Persuasion.” He has been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, The Television Bureau of Canada, and the American Marketing Association. He has also been granted an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from McMaster University in 2012, an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree from Humber College in 2014, and an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degree from St. Mary’s University in Halifax in 2015.

He has co-written a best-selling book called “The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture,” published in Canada by Knopf, and in the U.S. by Counterpoint Press in Berkeley. His second book, tentatively titled "Lessons From Under The Influence" will be published in the Spring of 2017, again by Knopf.

He has a wonderful wife and three lovely daughters. Who like some of this work.

Presentation: Changing the Conversation
Thursday Morning Plenary

Joe Schwarcz
McGill University, Office for Science & Society

Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which is dedicated to demystifying science and separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging. Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public. He is the only non-American ever to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award for demystifying chemistry. He hosts "The Dr. Joe Show" on Montreal radio, has appeared hundreds of times on television and is the author of 16 best sellers. Also an amateur conjurer, Dr. Joe often spices up his presentations with a little magic.

Presentation: Countering Public Misperceptions of Agriculture
Thursday Morning Plenary

Steve Meyer
Express Markets Inc. Analytics

Dr. Steve Meyer joined EMI Analytics in May 2015 upon the sale of his former business, Paragon Economics, Inc. to EMI. As Vice-President, Pork Analysis for EMI, Dr. Meyer’s duties include ongoing analysis of hog and pork markets and assisting EMI Analytics clients (which now include his former Paragon clients such as the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council) in using his insights to successfully manage their businesses. He brings a wealth of experience in the livestock industry. His breadth of work in the pork industry is unique. As President of Paragon, he also monitored and analyzed cattle, beef and poultry markets to meet the needs of his diverse set of clients. He served for 12 years as an author of The Daily Livestock Report sponsored by CME Group, an e-newsletter whose circulation grew steadily following its introduction in 2003. In addition, he writes a feature article for National Hog Farmer’s Weekly Preview e-letter that focuses on economic issues in North America’s swine/pork sector.

Prior to founding Paragon Economics, Dr. Meyer served as Director of Economics for the National Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board from 1993 to 2002. In that capacity, he provided economic counsel to producers and NPPC/NPB staff and coordinated staff and consultants’ activities regarding meat industry production and price forecasts and the economic impact of pork production and processing. He also administered NPPC/NPB programs dealing with marketing and pricing systems, industry structure, coordination and competitiveness.

Before his tenure at NPPC/NPB, Dr. Meyer spent two years as a swine business specialist with Moorman Manufacturing Company (now ADM Alliance Nutrition), a major U.S. livestock feed manufacturer. His work involved all aspects of swine production including genetics, nutrition, facilities design and construction, management, production planning and marketing. Dr. Meyer also spent two years a as sales representative with Dow Chemical, served as sales manager for a Texas animal health and agricultural chemical distributor and was as an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia from 1987 to 1990. His responsibilities at UMC included teaching and research in livestock marketing, agribusiness management, agricultural sales and alternative agricultural enterprises. Dr. Meyer obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture economics from Oklahoma State University. He received a doctorate in that field from Iowa State University in 1987. He was a National Science Foundation Research Fellow while attending both schools. Dr. Meyer served on the Executive Committee of USDA’s NEC-63 Research Committee on Commodity Promotion in 2001 and 2002 and as a Director of the Extension Section of the American Agricultural Economics Association from 2001 through 2003.

Steve and his wife, Carolyn, have three children and live in Adel, IA. He has served his community as a member of the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn Board of Education and is a member, worship leader and Elder at New Hope Evangelical Free Church. He enjoys sports of all kinds as well as singing and listening to Southern Gospel, Cowboy and Western Swing music.

Presentation: Is the Re-Tooling Over or Just Beginning?
Thursday Closing Plenary
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Kevin Grier
Kevin Grier Market Analysis & Consulting Inc. 

Kevin Grier is a respected and connected agriculture and food market analyst with a solid understanding of industry issues from farm to retail. His research and analysis helps companies, producer groups, financial service organizations and governments make informed decisions that impact their bottom line. The main industry focus is livestock, poultry, meat and grocery markets. With more than 25 years of experience, Kevin Grier brings clients a solid economic research and market analysis skill-set combined with thorough knowledge of the Canadian and U.S. agriculture and food industry. Two key competitive advantages include an extensive network of high level contacts throughout the industry and an exhaustive data and information base.  

Kevin Grier provides consulting services which deliver economic and market analysis research projects. He has provided expertise in high-profile arbitrations, Competition Bureau cases, trade negotiations, animal health projects and food safety assessments.  He has been active in policy development for industry associations and governments in areas such as assisting the Government of Canada in the World Trade Organization dispute regarding Country of Origin Labelling. He has also helped producer organizations address issues associated with the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. He is passionate about technology and its role in finding marketplace acceptance and production effectiveness. 

Presentation: Is the Re-Tooling Over or Just Beginning?
Thursday Closing Plenary
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Chris Byra
Byra Consulting 

Dr. Byra has been a swine practitioner for 35 years at Greenbelt Veterinary Services in Chilliwack, BC.  He is a graduate of WCVM and has a MBA in Agriculture from the University of Guelph.  For the past 5 years he has worked in the industry through BC Pork, the Canadian Swine Health Board and the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network.  In addition to CSHIN, Dr. Byra manages the Canada-West Swine Health Intelligence Network, managing projects,  developing the network, database program and most recently applications for rapid data entry and report retrieval.  He is also a director of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Systems (CAHSS).  His passion at home is gardening and hiking.  

Presentation: Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness: Is the Swine Industry Ready? 
Breakout #1
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Scott Dee
Pipestone Veterinary Services

Dr. Scott Dee joined Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone in July of 2011. Before joining the clinic, Dr. Dee was a swine practitioner in Morris, Minnesota for 12 years and for the last 12 years a professer at the University of Minnesota where he conducted research in the areas of PRRSV transmission and biosecurity Currently he serves as Director of Research for Pipestone Applied Research and conducts research in the areas of air filtration and PEDV transmission & biosecurity. Scott, his wife, Lisa and their two cildren, Nicholas and Ellen, live in Alexandria, MN.

Presentation: Evaluating the Risk of Transboundary Disease Spread through Contaminated Feed Ingredients
Breakout #1 

Geraldine Auston
Ag & Food Exchange

Geraldine Auston is a management consultant with almost 25 years of experience working with food and farming clients across Canada. Most recently, she worked with BC Pork, BC Cranberry Marketing Commission, and the Canadian Livestock Transport Program. In her role with the Ag & Food Exchange, she provides issues management expertise for businesses pressured by existing and emerging issues surrounding agriculture and food production practices.  

Presentation: Animal Welfare, Animal Rights: What’s the Difference?
Breakout #2

Luigi Faucitano
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Faucitano obtained a doctoral degree in Animal Science at the University of Bologna (Italy) in 1996 and conducted post-doc studies on preslaughter management of pigs in Spain and Brazil. Since 1999, he has been meat scientist at the Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada. He is currently one of the few meat scientists to have a research program aiming at studying the impact of preslaughter handling on animal welfare and meat quality in North America. His recognition is proved by the number of consultancies for the pork industry, scientific community and governmental institutions and invitations as a speaker in many industry and scientific meetings and academic seminars. He participated in the revision of the Canada’s Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs and of the Canadian Livestock Transport handbook. He has almost 200 publications between peer-reviewed papers, technical and congress communications, and book chapters.  

Presentation: Swine Transportation - Science-based Solutions to Current Issues
Breakout #2
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Alastair Bratton
Verus Alliance

Alastair grew up in Buckinghamshire, England. This is also where he started to work with pigs on 2 PIC multiplier farms, producing breeding boars and gilts. He studied agriculture and animal science at Harper Adams Agricultural University graduating in 1999. After working and managing indoor and outdoor units he ended up working for British Quality Pigs (BQP) as a Production manager where he was overseeing 7,500 outdoor sows on 9 different units. After getting married in 2006, he took a job here in Alberta with Elite Swine managing a sow unit before having the opportunity to move into the role Production Manager for “Verus”, where he is currently overseeing 15,000 sows and 25,000 nursery spaces. 

Alastair currently sits as the Chair for the Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop, which he has held for the last 3 years. He is also an active board member for the Alberta Pork Congress. Alastair also takes the time to participate in the Classroom agricultural program, where he has the opportunity to speak and educate grade 4/5 kids about farming and where their food comes from. With any free time, he and his wife Kimberly and their 2 children, Charlotte and Spencer enjoy camping and the great outdoor life Alberta has to offer.

Presentation: Farrowing Room Management
Breakout #3

Egan Brockhoff
Prairie Swine Health Services

Dr. Egan Brockhoff is a strong advocate of agriculture and agribusiness. He is graduate of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He and his family operate a third generation mixed farm in central Alberta. He is a partner and a practicing veterinarian with Prairie Swine Health Services in Red Deer Alberta and a Veterinary Counselor for the Canadian Pork Council. Prairie Swine Health Services is a member of the University of Calgary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Distributed Veterinary Learning Centre. It is a swine medicine and consulting practice offering a wide variety of services to farms and farm families across Western Canada, the U.S. Midwest and Asia. Dr. Brockhoff was the recipient of the 2014 Alberta Pork Congress Industry Ambassador Award.

Presentation: Farrowing Room Management
Breakout #3

Nathalie Trottier
Michigan State University

Nathalie Trottier is Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. She received her B.Sc. in agronomy and her M.Sc. in animal nutrition from McGill University, and her PhD in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois. Her research is focused on understanding factors that regulate nitrogen and amino acid utilization in pigs and horses, and lactation physiology. Her teaching responsibility include senior level undergraduate course on Monogastric Animal Nutrition and a graduate level course on Protein nutrition and metabolism. 

Presentation: Determinants of Lactation Success in Primiparous Sows
Breakout #3

Kristen Cumming
Cantos Performance Management

Kristen Cumming is a speaker, facilitator and trainer focused on improving the connection between people and their work. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Master of Education degree in Workplace and Adult Learning are complemented by 20 years’ experience supporting organizations in retention, engagement, performance management and leadership. She is from an agricultural background and is passionate about rural sustainability. She operates a successful consulting practice and is an instructor with the Bachelor of Economics in Business Management program with the University of Alberta Augustana Campus.   

Presentation: Building, Managing and Retaining High Performance Teams
Breakout #4

Ken Linington
Flowers Canada Growers

Ken Linington is a Policy Advisor for an Ontario agricultural employers group known as the Labour Issues Coordinating Committee (LICC). LICC is a coalition of agricultural commodity and general farm organizations representing the interests of Ontario Farm employers. It was formed in 1991 to develop consensus in the farm employer community on employment and labour related issues, and represent their collective position to government. Industry friendly regulations is a primary goal. Ken shares part of his time as Human Resources Director with Flowers Canada Growers and sits on the Board of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council. Previously Ken spent 10 years as a Policy Advisor and 20 years as an extension worker with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.  

Presentation: Changing Landscape of Agricultural Labour 
Breakout #4
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Randall S. Prather
University of Missouri 

Since 1982 Dr. Prather’s research has focused on the early mammalian embryo. He earned his BS and MS from Kansas State University, and PhD and Postdoc from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at Wisconsin he cloned the first pigs, and some of the first cattle, by nuclear transfer. His group at the University of Missouri created miniature pigs that have the alpha 1,3 galactosyltransferase gene knocked out, thus paving the way for xenotransplantation; and have developed pigs that have cystic fibrosis, thus providing the first whole animal model that can be used to study the disease. More recently his lab edited CD163 to produce pigs that are resistant to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. His lab has made over 1,100 cloned pigs at MU representing over 45 different genetic modifications for agriculture and medicine. He is the Director of the NIH-funded National Swine Resource and Research Center. In addition to his genetic engineering pig research, he and his collaborators have identified newly described genes in the reproductive tissues of pigs and cattle that will help develop an understanding of the pattern of gene expression to reduce the 30% loss of pregnancies that occurs in mammals. He is currently a Curators’ Professor with the title Distinguished Professor of Reproductive Biotechnology in the Division of Animal Science at the University of Missouri.

Presentation: Editing the Genome for PRRSV Resistance - Where Can We Go From Here?
Breakout #5
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Stephen Webel
JBS United

Stephen K. Webel is the Director of Reproduction Research and Development for JBS United, Inc. He earned his B.S. from the University of Illinois, M.S. from Iowa State University and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. His basic and applied research has led to development of estrous cycle and ovulation control products to permit fixed time insemination for swine, sheep, cattle and horses. Dr. Webel is currently involved with developing and implementing programs for fixed time insemination in gilts and weaned sows. 

Presentation: Current Strategies & Technology for Reproductive Management in Gilts & Sows
Breakout #5
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Kilby Willenburg
Fast Genetics

Kilby was born and raised in Central Illinois on a grain and farrow to finish swine operation.  He completed his B.S. in Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois in 1999 and then earned his M.S. in Animal Sciences in 2002 at the University of Illinois with Dr. Rob Knox.  He received his Ph.D in Reproductive Physiology at University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2008 with Dr. John Parrish.  He has worked in the swine industry since 2002 with Minitube, ReproQuest, Sexing Technologies and currently with Fast Genetics.  Kilby also has an appointment at the University of WI in Madison.  

Presentation: Application of Sexed Sperm in Pig Production
Breakout #5

Mark Fynn
Manitoba Pork

Mark completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science at the University of British Columbia and then went on to do a Master’s of Science in Ag-Economics at the University of Manitoba. His graduate thesis includes economic and welfare comparisons between two group-housing systems for sows. Mark joined Manitoba Pork as their Animal Care Specialist in 2010 and is now their Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs. In his role with Manitoba Pork, he has contributed to developing policy and implementing programs related to pig health and husbandry for pork producers in Manitoba. He has also been involved in a number of national programs and projects in these areas, including the National Sow Housing Conversion Project.

Presentation: Avoiding Land Mines Converting to Loose Sow Housing
Breakout #6
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Tom Parsons
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Tom Parsons is an associate professor of swine medicine in the Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine and serves as the director of the School’s Swine Teaching and Research Center.  He was raised on a family farm in western Massachusetts where his nephew, Christopher, is the 12th generation of Parsons’ to work land deeded from King George. Dr. Parsons received his VMD and his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. Following postdoctoral training in Heidelberg, Germany, Dr. Parsons returned to Penn as a faculty member.  Dr. Parsons was instrumental in the establishment of the school’s swine teaching and research center. This facility has served as a prototype for the commercial scale implementation of loose sow housing.  Over 180,000 sows on 75 farms across the U.S. and Canada have adopted the basic pen gestation systems developed at school’s swine center.  He also has built one of the largest research groups working on sow housing in North America in an effort to address questions gleaned from his experiences helping farmers transition in to loose sow housing.  Dr. Parsons was a charter diplomat of American College of Animal Welfare and has received awards from the New York Farmers for distinguished service to agriculture and from the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association for animal welfare advocacy. 

Presentation: Of Pigs and People: Training for the Transition from Stalls to Pens
Breakout #6

Kevin Stuckey
Cooper Farms

Kevin Stuckey is the Sow Division Manager for Cooper Farms in Oakwood, Ohio; a position he’s held for the last 4.5 years. Kevin has been with Cooper Farms for the last 19 years. He began working with them as a Farrowing Manager in 1998 when Cooper Farms built their first sow farm and has held various positions within the division. Cooper Farms is a family owned swine, turkey, and layer production and processing company in Northwest and West Central Ohio. Kevin and his wife Beth reside on a small farm in Hicksville,Ohio with their two children. 

Presentation: ESF Experiences
Breakout #6

Leo den Hartog
Trouw Nutrition

Professor Dr Leo den Hartog is director of R&D at Trouw Nutrition and part-time professor in Sustainable Animal Nutrition in Production Chains at Wageningen University. It was from this same university that den Hartog graduated in Animal Sciences in 1978, and where he obtained his PhD on the relationship between nutrition and fertility in gilts and sows in 1984. In 1989, den Hartog received the Henneberg Lehmann Award from the University of Göttingen, Germany. In 1999, he accepted an honorary PhD from the University of Kaposvar, Hungary. In 2014, he was given the Molenaar Award from the Animal Nutrition magazine in the Netherlands and Belgium. This award is given every two years to a person for his or her contribution to the animal feed and additive industry. Den Hartog’s extensive experience in animal production is reflected in over 450 scientific and applied articles and seven books as author or co-author. To date, he has given more than 600 lectures in over 35 different countries. He has also been chairman of Dutch trade missions on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to China, Taiwan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and South Africa.

Presentation: Nutritional Strategies to Establish a Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Swine
Breakout #7
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Martin Nyachoti
University of Manitoba

Dr. Martin Nyachoti is a Professor and Associate Head in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Manitoba. He holds a B.Sc. (Agric) from the University of Nairobi and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in animal nutrition (majoring in poultry and pig nutrition) from the University of Guelph. Dr. Nyachoti’s current research focuses on nutrition and gut health in the non-ruminant, energy and nutrient (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) utilization, and feed ingredient evaluation. In addition, Dr. Nyachoti teaches courses at the diploma, degree and graduate levels and currently advises 6 graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow. He has served on Editorial Boards of several journals including Journal of Animal Science and British Journal of Nutrition. His current publication record includes 181 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2005 and 2013, Dr. Nyachoti won the Canadian Society of Animal Science Pfizer Young Scientist Award and Award for Excellence in Nutrition and Meat Sciences, respectively, as well as Merit Awards for Research excellence from the University of Manitoba in 2006, 2010 and 2013.

Presentation: Canadian Alternatives for Dietary Antibiotics as Growth Promotants
Breakout #7
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Ben Willing
University of Alberta

Dr. Ben Willing is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in the Microbiology of Nutrigenomics at the University of Alberta. He completed his BSc (Agr) at the University of British Columbia and his PhD in Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan. He has made important contributions in the understanding of microbes in intestinal development, inflammatory bowel disease, infection resistance and metabolic health. His research group is working to understand both fundamental and applied questions in gut microbiology. Fundamental research includes identifying mechanisms through which specific core members of the microbiome regulate host physiology using germfree rodent and piglet models. Applied questions include examining the role that microbes play in shaping health benefits associated with dietary intervention and to identify the impacts of early life antibiotics on metabolic disease development. He is on the editorial board for the ISME Journal and Frontiers in Microbiology, and is co-director of the University of Alberta germfree animal facilities. In 2016 he was awarded the International Life Sciences Institute Future Leader Award.

Presentation: Intestinal Microbiome to Enhance Infection Resistance in Pigs
Breakout #7
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