Emily Meredith
Emily Meredith

I’ve been struggling with a bad case of writers block for over a week trying to write this blog. It’s probably the toughest one I’ve had to write: it’s my swan song from Pork Network and the other Vance publications, well, at least for a little while.

It has been my distinct pleasure to opine on topics large and small for you the last couple of years (whew—time flies when you’re having fun). I appreciate your loyal readership and your thoughtful and insightful comments and emails that have followed my posts.

I’m leaving the Animal Agriculture Alliance to become the new Vice President of Animal Care at the National Milk Producers Federation. The challenges and opportunities ahead of me are vast, but I’m excited to face them head on.

For me, the fact that I’m leaving all of the proteins the Alliance works on behalf of, to represent “just” one—America’s dairy producers and co-ops, is tangy and bittersweet.

Because I’ll be focused on one segment of our vast agriculture community, it is my hope that I’ll be able to be that much more effective, and certainly, I would be lying if I said that I won’t enjoy doing crisis management for just one protein, as opposed to six or seven.

But at the same time, there’s no greater sense of pride than the one I feel when I do my weekly grocery shopping.

It’s a thrill for me to buy product produced by companies that are Alliance members—and an even more special moment (cheesy, I know) when I know representatives at those companies personally.

I have said it once and I’ll say it again: the farmers and ranchers I know will produce whatever the consumer wants. You need it, they’ll find a way to get it done. And they’ll do it in a way that’s sustainable, efficient and safe and wholesome.

For me, one of the best parts of my job is to be able to set the record straight when it comes to animal agriculture. I love being able to have discussions—even with my own, non-ag friends, and help them understand the world of agriculture: the people who produce the food, fiber and fuel that nourishes and sustains us.

For me, this opportunity is a step forward—a chance to use my advocacy and communications tools to communicate the importance of animal agriculture—and

to share my sense of pride for this great industry—with those that need to hear about it the most.

The stakes have never been higher for us in agriculture, for all of us to do our part to tell agriculture’s story—to talk not just about the good, but about the challenges as well. To give those most removed from agriculture (the 98%, so to speak) a window into life on the farm, into the slaughterhouse or processing facility.

It has been my pleasure to blog here on this forum—to share my personal thoughts, stories and insights with you. I hope I’ve done my part to better help prepare you for the challenges we are facing, to paint you a picture for what the “food” landscape looks like today. More than anything, however, I hope that I’ve been a catalyst that’s sparked discussion.

The stakes are high; but the opportunities are even greater. Remember—everyone’s got to eat. And you have the incredibly important job of feeding them.

Thank you for doing that job so well. You make mine easy.

Editor's Note: PorkNetwork and Vance Publishing have been honored to have Emily Meredith as a regular contributor to our websites. She has represented herself - and animal agriculture - professionally and powerfully. We wish her all the best in her new endeavor and will look forward to seeing her wit and wisdom expressed on these pages again in the future.