Animal agriculture leaders from Cohort 3 begin their training in Chicago

Cohort 3 of NIAA’s Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders launch their experiential leadership program

The third cohort of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders completed their first in-person leadership training session in Chicago, Illinois.

In January, NIAA announced the selected participants in the third cohort of the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders. During their time in Chicago, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) hosted cohort participants as they explored the group’s strengths from CliftonStrengths, outlined their desired leadership experience and curriculum on the first day of the leadership training session. Kaitlin Briggs MBA, PhD, Vice President Animal Health & Sustainability Research at DMI spoke to the group about the organization and her role and the sustainability goals and progress in the dairy industry.

On the second day of the leadership session, Cohort members met Jamie Calvetti, president of Calvetti Meats and founder of Calvetti Culinary Creations. Calvetti Meats was established in Chicago in 1939 and Jamie is the second generation of owner management. The company specializes in custom food products, including ready-to-eat, sous vide and vacuum packaged ready-to-cook food products.

Midan Marketing’s Principal, Michael Uetz finished the day with Cohort members with a discussion about the latest protein research, current market trends, and consumer attitudes. Midan is an independent agency with an extensive knowledge of the meat industry and consumer insights.

“My expectations have expanded following our first gathering as Cohort 3,” said Hanna Robbins, Butterball, LLC and cohort member. “The opportunity to mesh with such a diverse, interdisciplinary group that is collectively passionate about all facets of agriculture is unique to many of us. I’m looking forward to further developing our relationships, conversations, and opportunities over the next 14 months and beyond.”

The third cohort of the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders represents a range of agricultural sectors to advance animal agriculture’s role in today’s food system. Participants include Johnna Baller-Granville – Genus ABS, Ryan Bennett – U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs and International Poultry Welfare Alliance, Kristi Block – North American Meat Institute, Sarah Coleman – The Kentucky Horse Council, Rose Digianantonio – State of Wyoming Livestock Board, Will Fiske – Neogen Genomics, Chelsea Good, JD – Livestock Marketing Association, Rita Harkless – Perdue Foods, Blaine Johnson – Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, Tanner King – Neogen Genomics, Ashley Kohls – Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, Jennifer Koziol – Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine, Rahul Kumar – Zoetis, Inc., Megan McCullough – North American Meat Institute, Emmanuel Okello – University of California, Davis, Kelli Payne – Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation, Hanna Robbins – Butterball, Dakota Thomas – Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO), Jackson Tolle – United Producers, Inc., Hattie Webb – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


To learn more about the leadership program and its sponsors, visit the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders page of our website.




National Institute for Animal Agriculture Launches Policy Review Panels


NIAA will offer unbiased, third-party reviews to organizational policies related to animal agriculture.


The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) has launched a new program to review organizational policies and positions specific to animal agriculture as a third-party reviewer.

As the protein value chain works to continuously improve, new animal agriculture policies and positions are often adopted by organizations. Access to third-party subject matter experts through NIAA ensures the latest science and information for practical animal handling and husbandry practices are applied. Review panels span all species and sectors of the animal agriculture value chain.

As a convener of interdisciplinary leaders to explore, discuss, and learn about specific topics and issues, NIAA’s mission is put into action through this program. NIAA Animal Agriculture Policy Review Panels are assembled upon request by animal agriculture stakeholders to review a specific organizational policy or position statement. The Policy Review Panels are comprised of subject matter experts (SMEs) and serve to:

  • Determine if the policy follows the latest scientific research;
  • Assess if the policy encourages continuous improvement;
  • Review the policy for practical application;
  • Evaluate if the policy is balanced to allow for species, regional, cultural, and other differences in production practices and models; and,
  • Offer feedback and counsel that the requesting organization can implement into the policy.

NIAA provides the panel of SMEs with the proposed policy text with no distinguishing language or branding to prevent bias. Feedback from the panel is aggregated into a final report by NIAA staff and includes the credentials of the SMEs. NIAA does not share confidential review panel reports. However, reports may be shared by the requesting organization if they choose.

“We look forward to continuing to serve the animal agriculture community as policies and positions on a variety of animal agriculture topics are developed or revised,” said Eric Moore, NIAA board chairman and director of technical services – North America of Norbrook, Inc. “A NIAA Policy Review Panel just completed its first report, and the requesting organization shares the practical feedback was ‘well received’ and will be applied to their final position statement.”

To learn more about NIAA’s Animal Agriculture Policy Review Panels, contact NIAA’s executive director J.J. Jones or visit

NIAA Provides mRNA Resources to the Animal Agriculture Industry

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) hosted a webinar on July 21 with industry professionals and stakeholders to provide resources communicating about the use of mRNA technology in animal agriculture.

Misinformation has been shared on social media claiming humans can become vaccinated against COVID-19 by consuming animal protein from livestock treated with mRNA vaccines. The emerging issue was presented at NIAA’s Annual Conference in April 2023 during the Animal Health Emergency Management Council meeting. To compound the misinformation, mRNA vaccines have recently been the target of some state legislative bills.

NIAA quickly assembled a working group of experts from across animal agriculture to develop communication support materials regarding the use of mRNA technology in animal agriculture. Working group leaders include:

  • American Association of Swine Veterinarians
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Animal Agriculture Alliance
  • Livestock Marketing Association
  • Merck Animal Health
  • Missouri Farm Bureau
  • National Institute for Animal Agriculture
  • National Pork Board
  • National Pork Producers Council
  • North American Meat Institute
  • Zoetis

The webinar hosted nearly 100 interested stakeholders and presented an information brief and infographic that is now available for animal agriculture stakeholders to use.

“NIAA works to serve animal agriculture stakeholders by convening leaders across the supply chain and connecting them with resources,” said J.J. Jones, NIAA executive director. “With this latest emerging issue, it’s important to know the facts about a complex topic and then communicate it simply and clearly. Our leaders are hopeful our animal agriculture stakeholders find this resource valuable.”

To access the mRNA information brief and infographic, please visit the resources page at the NIAA website. To learn more about becoming more involved in NIAA through membership or partnership, contact NIAA’s executive director J.J. Jones.



NIAA is the leading resource for the animal agriculture industry and provides value to all stakeholders involved in providing safe and healthy food for the world. NIAA is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing programs to work towards providing solutions for disease, while promoting a safe and wholesome food supply and the best practices of environmental stewardship, animal health and well-being.

Weekly Bulletin April 22: Defending meat on menus & Tyson invests in animal disease traceability