• Thursday, June 26, 2014

    The Reciprocal Meats Conference

    Anyone who follows me on any type of social media knows that I have been traveling in the past few weeks and that my travels largely involved meat and food production. For me, the third week in June is like a family reunion, a science fair, and the state fair all rolled into one. The third week in June is time for the Reciprocal Meats Conference!

    In 1948 a group of meat scientists met in Chicago to discuss their industry and ways to improve meat production, and began meeting together annually for the Reciprocal Meats Conference. But it was in Madison, WI in 1964 that they decided to form an association for people interested in meat science, the American Meat Science Association. This year we celebrated 50 years of the AMSA.

    A photo from the 1964 RMC when they started the AMSA.
    We are definitely a different looking crowd today.

    The whole concept behind the RMC is to share information about meat science and the meat industry with other meat scientists. People that attend RMC may be from academia like me, from meat companies like my husband, from governmental agencies like USDA, or from industry trade groups like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association or the American Meat Institute. Of the 850+ people that attended RMC this year, about 1/3 were students.

    We reciprocate ideas about the food we produce. People that have attended RMC are responsible for making our meat supply safe and wholesome. One of the great things about the food industry in the US is that food safety issues are non-competitive. At meetings like the RMC, companies and universities are open to sharing the ways they make food safe.

    I thought I would share a few thoughts and photos from RMC. If you have attended an RMC, this year or in years past, please share in the comments below or on my facebook page. Let people know who you are, what you do, and especially the things you love about RMC. Be sure to include your blog or twitter handles for people to follow!

    The first AMSA Board of Directors.
    Giants in the world of meat science.

    I am honored to say that I worked with Dr. Kropf (far left) on a meat color project when I was a PhD student. Because it was the 50 year anniversary of the AMSA, our first session was a history of the organization and all the challenges we have faced in the meat industry over the past 50 years.

    Some of the other topics of discussion throughout the week included:

    ·         Diet and Health – Analysis of Current Nutrition Policy

    ·         Myoglobin chemistry and meat color

    ·         Antibiotic resistance

    ·         Food safety and E. coli

    ·         Natural curing of meat

    ·         Genetics and meat quality

    ·         How is social media changing our business

    ·         Environmental sustainability and meat production

    Several of the talks ran against one another. I was so thankful that they were ALL recorded this year so I can go see them online later this summer.

    The technical sessions at RMC are great, but the most valuable thing at RMC is the networking opportunities. The professional members (non-students/ old guys) have a networking mentality when they come to RMC. They make it a point to meet new people, and to learn what the students are doing at their respective universities. This mindset has been ingrained in the meeting from the first one.  I encourage my students to get out of their comfort zones and meet new people. Some of the older professors have been known to require their students to write reports on the people they meet.

    Because of this friendly, family-like atmosphere, there is an immeasurable amount of collaboration that takes place at RMC. I would bet that more advances in the meat industry have been a result of conversations between the sessions than from those during the sessions. There are lots of opportunities for this extra Reciprocation, like the family picnic and the golf tournament. This year we had some extra reciprocation in the basement late at night during a tornado warning.

    A tweet from David during our tornado reciprocation session.
    Just about everyone in the basement was from RMC.

    This year, we really worked to have a strong presence on social media. We added these little flags to our name tags so people would know to watch for our tweets.

    The flags on my name tag.
    (The Twitter one was new this year)

    We used the hashtag #AMSARMC. You can check out some of the great tweets from this year’s meeting.

    Just a few of the tweets from #AMSARMC. Even with 850+ attendees,
    we try to get hands-on in our sessions

     All in all, I think RMC was a great success. It continues to be the place to be during the third week in June for us meatheads (we call ourselves meatheads). I hope to have many in my future.
    Don't forget to comment on your RMC experience!

    Every year on our way to RMC, I take my students on tours of meat plants and farms in the area. Next week, I’ll post about our trip to Wisconsin.

    1 comment:

    1. Janeal Fabulous Post! The AMSA RMC is such a wonderful experience from the program to the networking, it is truly amazing to reconnect with old friends and make new ones! For the past 7 years I have been working for AMSA planning RMC and each year it gets stronger and stronger. As a mom, meat scientist, advocate for our industry and a meat eater I appreciate all of your blog posts and the education you share! Follow the American Meat Science Association daily at @MeatScience