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We Needed an In-person 2022 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention

03/27/2022

In-person conferences were cancelled in 2021 due to COVID with the industry reverting to on-line meetings and webinars.  Although COVID concerns have abated, the series of highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks reduced attendance at the Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF) Convention. According to a March 27th post Convention release 2,300 registered and 280 companies exhibited in the Trade Show. Despite the lower than anticipated attendance those who came benefited from a wide range of activities, only possible with an in-person meeting.  This sentiment was reinforced by a statement from Ross Thorensen, the incoming MFP chairperson, who stated “The Convention provided incredible value to both attendees and exhibitors and we look forward to channeling this momentum into 2023”

 

The outstanding benefit was the emotional lift from renewal of friendships and establishing new acquaintances through direct participation in the educational and social events, the trade exhibition and concurrent programs. After two years of relative isolation and reliance on zoom meetings it was restorative to be able to shed masks and shake hands representing a welcome return to an approximation of normality.

 

 

As in previous years a full slate of activities was presented by the MPF including:

  • Educational sessions with separate focus presentations for egg production, turkeys, broilers and processing.  The MPF Congress provides an opportunity for academia to present the results of practical research to the industry.
  • The event was an opportunity for associations to hold their annual meetings. Organic Egg Farmers of America and The North Central Avian Diseases Conference held meetings concurrently with the MPF Congress contributing to participation and attendance.
  • The event provided a forum for university graduates to explore job opportunities and to match their skills with companies actively recruiting for technical and managerial staff.
  • The trade exhibit, with approximately 280 companies participating, was a valuable opportunity to review innovations in management, housing, health, sustainability and efficiency.  In contrast to the annual IPPE in Atlanta, the MFP Convention offers a more focused approach to the poultry industries in the Midwest with an emphasis on turkeys and egg production.  Interaction between manufacturers and suppliers with prospective and existing customers facilitated exchange of knowledge and allowed direct comparisons between alternative products.  Areas of concentration included aviary systems, ventilation installations, vaccines and nutritional additives.

 

It is unfortunate that the ongoing outbreaks of Avian Influenza limited attendance.  Participation in the meeting should not have represented any risk of introducing virus into the flocks of an attendee, providing common sense biosecurity procedures were followed.  It is hoped that in future years, with the almost inevitable return of avian influenza disseminated in late winter and early spring by migratory waterfowl, that participants will not be dissuaded from attending the MFP Convention. Appropriate precautions include refraining from visiting flocks for 48 hours after return from Minneapolis and following personal biosecurity procedures including showering that have proven effective against transmission of AI virus.

 

The organizers of the convention are to be complimented on the comprehensive program supported by the arrangements of Lara Durben and her colleagues at Empowered Events.  Moving the convention from the St. Paul venue to the larger Minneapolis Convention Center two year ago permitted expansion of exhibit space and consolidation under a single dome together with ample space for concurrent meetings.

 

The 2023 MPF Convention will be held from April 11th through April 13th.