Livestock News

Food animal wellbeing forum set for March 28 at Russellville

For ranchers and other animal food producers, the wellbeing of their herds and stock is at the core of every choice they make.


“It’s the thing that overarches everything we do,” said Mike Looper, head of the Animal Science Department that’s part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences. “It’s our responsibility to make sure those animals are healthy.”


The upcoming Current issues and Advances in Food Animal Wellbeing Forum, scheduled for March 28 in Russellville, Arkansas, is designed to address that core issue, Looper said, as well as many of the day-to-day decisions that play into achieving a desirable outcome.


“Animal wellbeing is paramount to all aspects of our industry,” Looper said. “This forum will provide practical information that will have valuable on-farm application.”


Looper said that labor issues, often overlooked in animal wellbeing considerations, will be at the forefront of forum discussions, as will be the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials.


“We know that the indiscriminate use of antibiotics can lead to resistance, both in human and animal medicine,” he said. “And we all want to be good stewards of our environment. Something as simple as improperly administering an injection can be an animal wellbeing issue. It can also be a food safety issue, because that animal is part of the food chain.”



The forum will include experts from industry and academia. The event at the Hughes Center in Russellville opens at 9 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. The $25 registration fee includes lunch. Pre-event registration by March 22  is required and attendees may be by cash, check or credit card at the door. The Hughes Center is located at 1000 E. Parkway Ave., Russellville.


The topics include:

  • A summary of Recent Events Impacting Beef Production, with Dr. Jacob Hagenmaier, Elanco,
  • Animal Health Animal Wellbeing and Health Interactions – Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson, Oklahoma State University.
  • Impact of Labor Issues on Livestock Welfare-   Dr. Courtney Daigle, Texas A&M University
  • How Beef Quality Assurance, or BQA, Impacts Animal Wellbeing –  Chase DeCoite, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
  • Using Audits to Build Bridges –  Dr. Karen Christensen, Tyson Foods.


“We are truly excited about this collaborative effort among the UA, Division of Agriculture, Arkansas Farm Bureau, and Farm Credit,” Looper said. “Our speakers for this forum are experts from the industry as well as top-notch land grant institutions.”


This program is part of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association’s Food Animal Medicine Workshop Series and is presented in cooperation with the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit and the Animal Science King Visiting Scholar Program.


The event is approved for three continuing education credit hours by American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.



University of Arkansas, by Mary Hightower




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Terry Simmons