32 minutes | May 9, 2023
Steak & Eggs
Jane Dukes, associate director, Value Chain and Consumer Affairs, speaks with John Stika, a meat scientist and President of Certified Angus Beef and Emily Metz, President and CEO of the American Egg Board. May is National Beef Month and National Egg Month and so in this episode our industry leading guests join us to recognize the contributions of layer farmers and cattle ranchers while gaining insights into the beef and egg industries. John guides grassroots programs and delivers premium beef from family farmers and ranchers to consumer’s dinner tables. Emily has worked as the head of Global Research and Development Communications and New Product Marketing for the world’s largest animal genetics company. Together they discuss how the agriculture industry can better interact and engage with consumers. “Consumers do not buy on price alone. They buy in price in relation to value. And if you understand what consumers value and you align your production systems for those to align with that. I think the opportunity is there to be the financial beneficiary of that alignment and those decisions. I think the data supports the optimism that we're seeing from a production standpoint and a beef merchandising standpoint for the demand that consumers have for our products not just here in the US but around the world.” - John Stika In a Merck Animal Health consumer research study conducted last year, two-thirds of consumers reported transparency in animal protein is extremely or very important, but only 35 percent of consumers surveyed feel the animal protein industry is transparent about sustainability or animal care/treatment. That's a gap Merck Animal Health feels we can fill. The egg industry is currently on a mission to simplify labels and allow consumers easier access to information in selecting their eggs based on what their family needs and the values they want to support. “We need to do a better job of talking about what those different production styles and practices really mean and making sure that people understand that there are trade offs. And I frankly think this is a conversation that probably agriculture needs to have across the board. There's no one silver bullet in terms of production and there's trade-offs in everything.” - Emily Metz This Week’s Podcast: Meet John Stika, is a meat scient ist and President of Certified Angus Beef and Emily Metz, President and CEO of the American Egg Board. Explore the commonalities between the egg and beef industry in addressing consumer concerns and expectations Discover the discussions that are being had to encourage transparency in the agriculture industry and those yet to come
28 minutes | Mar 17, 2023
Celebrating Agriculture on National Ag Day
Jane Dukes, associate director, Value Chain and Consumer Affairs, speaks with Tara Vander Dussen and Brandi Buzzard Frobose. Tara is an environmental scientist, dairy farmer and online influencer. Some of you may know her as the “New Mexico Milkmaid” on social media. She’s also a mom to two adorable little girls, and the co-founder of Elevate Ag. Brandi calls herself a Kansas “cowgirl.” She’s also a rancher, mom and author of a blog, Buzzard’s Beat. She has a suite of resources to help advocate for agriculture called “Amped Up Advocacy” Both of these women are tireless advocates for agriculture with tens of thousands of followers on social media. “I think to some extent we don't give grocery shoppers enough credit for what they can handle. There's always been a wall, like we want to give them information but not too much because we don't want to scare them off…but I feel like if grocery shoppers can see how we truly do care and we are doing what we need to do, even if that means expensive medical treatment to save an animal and a calf, that's the right thing to do.” - Brandi Buzzard Frobose Consumers are three to four generations removed from the farm and want more information about how their food is grown and raised. Farmers and ranchers are feeling the pressure of a changing dynamic and perceptions of the food chain. “If every single farmer and rancher shared their story online, I don't think there would be enough of us sharing. Every single farmer rancher out there is going to reach somebody different and that's why it's so important to have so many of us sharing our message is because we're going to connect and relate with people differently.” - Tara Vander Dussen This Week’s Podcast: Meet Tara Vander Dussen an environmental scientist, dairy farmer and online influencer and and Brandi Buzzard Frobose a rancher, mom and author of a blog, Buzzard’s Beat Discover the benefits in “sharing your story” in agriculture and the trust that action can foster in consumers Explore the common misconceptions around “factory farming” and how this ambiguous term has created a stigma around larger operations in the minds of grocery shoppers Click the SpeakPipe link and let us know what your questions are! We will try to answer as many of them as we can on podcasts throughout the year.
32 minutes | Feb 22, 2023
2023 Outlook in Food and Agriculture
*ASK YOUR QUESTIONS HERE: http://www.speakpipe.com/CACTF* Last year, Merck Animal Health conducted a research study that explored consumer desire for transparency in animal protein. In our survey, two-thirds of consumers reported transparency in animal protein is extremely or very important. Participants shared that food safety and nutrition for “me and my family” are the main motivators for this interest. And yet, only 35 percent of consumers surveyed feel that the animal protein industry is transparent about sustainability or animal care/treatment. That’s a gap we can help fill. “We're really steadfast in reassuring that the food in the United States is the safest on the planet, that those who are in food production have made leaps and bounds in sustainability, that the diversity of today's food system empowers consumers to make the choice that is absolutely best for them... And then finally, it's important that we let them know that we're constantly innovating and leveraging technology to improve all aspects of food.” - Roxi Beck Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Associate Director of Value Chain & Consumers Affairs, speaks with Roxi Beck, director of consumer engagement at the Center for Food Integrity, and Tim Hammerich, senior director of communications at Cogent Consulting. “I think farmers my age, as they're playing more leadership roles on the farm, are more interested in embracing technology and are more sustainability-conscious. And because of that, I think we will start to see more data available to tell the story of what's actually happening from farm to fork.” - Tim Hammerich This Week’s Podcast: Meet Roxi Beck, director of consumer engagement at the Center for Food Integrity and Tim Hammerich, senior director of communications at Cogent Consulting Discuss and understand what consumers mean by saying they prefer transparency in their food chain and where they find this value in the products they buy Explore the shared value strategy in communication with consumers to show that you support what matters most to them Click the SpeakPipe link and let us know what your questions are! We will try to answer as many of them as we can on podcasts throughout the year.
1 minutes | Feb 3, 2023
Season Four is Coming Soon: We Want to Answer YOUR Questions!
Submit your questions here: http://www.speakpipe.com/CACTF We're back! Welcome back to the fourth season of the "Caring for Animals and Creating Trust" podcast. I'm Jane Dukes with the Merck Animal Health Value Chain and Consumer Affairs Team, and I'll be your host as we focus this year on what consumers say they want more of: transparency from the food value chain from farm to table. We're going to answer your questions right here on the podcast with the help of our expert guests. If you have questions you'd like us to answer on the podcast, click THIS LINK and let us know what they are. Our first guest for 2023 are Roxi Beck, director of consumer engagement at the Center for Food Integrity and Tim Hammerich, creator of the "Future of Ag: podcast and the producer of ours. Today's food system continues to face challenge and change, and Tim and Roxi will look at emerging themes in 2023, and industry pain points and what's being done to address them. So if you have questions, be sure to click THIS LINK and we'll see you next month.
33 minutes | Dec 14, 2022
Consumers, Transparency and Food
This September Merck Animal conducted quantitative Consumer Transparency Research. The purpose was to explore consumer desire for transparency specifically in animal protein and their perceptions of transparency when it comes to animal welfare and sustainability. The findings included the fact that two-thirds of consumers believe that transparency in animal protein is very or extremely important. At the same time, only one-third of those surveyed feel like the animal protein industry is transparent when it comes to environmental sustainability and animal care. So what does transparency in food mean to consumers and why is it so important? “When I think of transparency and when I think of how consumers are dealing with it in our survey, I think about trust…… Do I trust you to be capable of delivering on your promises? But there's also intent, and that's more like consumer thinking. Do I trust that you have my best interest in mind? Are you trying to hide something? Transparency is very related to that latter one, intent. So if a company's willing to be transparent, to share information with me as a consumer, I'm more likely to trust its intent is aligned with my interest.” - Justin Cook Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Value Chain and Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Justin Cook the US Consumer Products Research Leader at Deloitte Services, and Maggie O’Quinn the New Business Development Manager at Midan Marketing. “I think it's so important to start with the fact that consumers do trust farmers and ranchers. A recent Gallup poll said that 59% of consumers trust farmers and ranchers. So I think that's a really good springboard and good place to start, but what we've uncovered in our recent research is that second to quality, the number one thing that consumers are looking for right now is that they're curious to understand how the animals were cared for.” - Maggie O’Quinn This Week’s Podcast: Meet Justin Cook the US Consumer Products Research Leader at Deloitte Services, and Maggie O’Quinn the New Business Development Manager at Midan Marketing. Explore highlights of Merck Animal Health Quantitative Consumer Transparency Research and discover insights into consumers animal protein choices
32 minutes | Oct 31, 2022
What We Wish Consumers Knew
At Merck Animal Health, we are committed to our customers. We want farmers, ranchers and veterinarians to share their stories. We’re releasing our third series of Caring for Animals and Creating Trust videos this month that shines a light on their backstories, what motivates them, what they care about and how they do what they do. Producers need to bridge a communication gap as consumers become further removed from the farm than ever before. The average American is three generations removed from the farm and they have questions about how their food is grown and raised. At the same time, shifting demographics contribute to a lack of trust in the food we eat, and questions arise about farmers and sustainability, animal welfare and production practices. While there’s plenty of research trying to get to the bottom of what consumers want to know, what do we, in the food value chain wish consumers knew? And how do we help farmers, ranchers and veterinarians share their stories? “I am a busy veterinarian. I serve dairy and feedlot clients in southwest Kansas, and I wish consumers knew that at the end of the day, I'm feeding the same food that we're producing every day to my family. And it comes with that level of confidence in the safety and nutritious value of the food that we're producing, that I'm willing to put it on my table.” - Dr. Tera Barnhardt Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Dr. Tera Barnhardt a cattle veterinarian and owner of Animal Welfare Consulting & Research, a large animal consulting veterinary practice and a devoted advocate for agriculture. Also joining us is social influencer Natalie Kovarik, a social entrepreneur, storyteller, ranch wife, mom and co-creator of Elevate Ag, an online course that helps farmers and ranchers share their stories. “I definitely started out with an agriculture based community in the beginning. I just think, you kind of draw in like-minded people. But as I've grown and had success, I've definitely started reaching non-consumers. And I do have a lot of people who follow me that are outside of the industry. And I think that's one of the really rewarding things is to be able to kind of have one on one interaction with them….Like I said, being in control of being able to advocate for the industry and, and say things that I want to, that I know are going to reach people.” - Natalie Kovarik We know we need to tell our stories, but for many farmers and ranchers, there is perceived risk and a lack of time which might make them feel the benefits may not outweigh the risk. ElevateAg, co-founded by Natalie, is a resource producers can turn to to help them navigate sharing their story. This Week’s Podcast: Meet Dr. Tera Barnhardt a cattle veterinarian and owner of Animal Welfare Consulting & Research and Natalie Kovarik, a social entrepreneur, storyteller, ranch wife, mom and co-creator of Elevate Ag. Hear directly from producers on about what they want consumers to hear and explore the means in which they can share that story with them
34 minutes | Sep 19, 2022
Call the Veterinarian!
In rural America there is a critical shortage of veterinarians, both for companion animals and livestock. Experts attribute the shortage to low wages, long hours and fewer graduates wanting to live outside a major city. This presents a problem in more ways than one since veterinarians are the first line of defense against disease. They work with farmers and ranchers throughout the animals’ lives, but they also inspect livestock before they can enter the food supply. There is also a shortage of companion animal veterinarians and veterinary technicians to keep our pets healthy members of the family. In 2020, pet ownership rose to 70% of American households. The need for companion animal veterinarians is outpacing the number we are graduating from vet schools across the country. “Around 2003 is when I noticed that there was change. I think it stems from a change in the interest and expectations from our students…There is less interest in some of our incoming students to enter food animal medicine….I think it stems from the fact that they don't have the experience. Maybe they don't have a sense of awareness of what a food animal practice can provide both from a personal and a professional reward. And then also of course, as you mentioned, there's the student debt, the potential maybe for lower wages, work-life balance, and those issues. ” - Dr. Carlos Risco Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Dr. Justin Welsh executive director of Merck Animal Health Food Animal Technical Services team, Dr. Carlos Risco the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oklahoma State University, Rebecca Barnett associate director of public policy for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), and Leyton Becker a Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Ambassador currently attending vet school at the University of Minnesota. “I think that it's gonna take a lot of stakeholders coming together and collaboration. It's gonna take the vet school. It's gonna take our stakeholders at the state level, state vets, and the federal level. Everyone kind of coming together, looking at this picture and seeing what role do they play and what solution can they offer. I think this…has a lot of different moving pieces within it that we can approach it with our solutions to try to solve this. I just don't think there's one solution that fits all.” - Rebecca Barnett The evidence of underserved counties in veterinary medicine is an ongoing pain point for the industry. There are also veterinary “deserts” where a single vet may oversee 150 square miles both for livestock and companion animals. It’s a tough life. Adding to the pressure is the rising debt load for education that has outpaced increases in starting salaries for veterinarians. This Week’s Podcast: Meet Dr. Justin Welsh executive director of Merck Animal Health Food Animal Technical Services team, Dr. Carlos Risco the Dean of the...
31 minutes | Aug 2, 2022
Retail Trends: Consumers and Transparency
Along with sustainability practices current consumers are also looking for transparency in the management of their food supply chain. Consumers want more information than ever before about how the food they eat makes its way to their plates. Nutrition, food safety, animal welfare, and labeling are all things consumers want to know more about, and the transparency they are looking for around food and food production is evolving quickly. Our food system is working hard to meet consumer expectations that can be a bit of a moving target. “What we're doing is we're looking at conversations that consumers are having online, regardless of if we were observing them or not. And we're looking at their conversations in order to identify what something means, what a topic, a trend, an issue, something like today's topic, transparency. What does it mean to consumers? How are those meanings evolving or changing? And what does this mean for our business?.... It's helpful because we can answer what is happening in culture but our goal is really to get to the why. ” - Cheryl Auger Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Cheryl Auger, the Director of Client Success MotivBase, and Jim Lanier, the Senior Manager Animal Welfare and Market Quality Assurance with HEB Grocery. “I work with different departments across the company to ensure that all animals in our supply chain are properly cared for. We actually establish partnerships with our vendors, industry groups, and actual producers to develop and monitor our standards and more accurately our expectations.” - Jim Lanier We want to explore what consumers are looking for to fulfill this transparency desire in their food chain. It can mean anything from labeling to animal welfare and ingredient sourcing. Merck Animal Health commissioned an ethnography study on consumers and transparency earlier this year that Cheryl led. We discovered that consumer values and concerns play an important role when they ask for transparency in animal protein. In addition, we learned that consumers are driven by the need to make the right decisions when it comes to food and their health and part of that is fueled by skepticism and fear. They are worried about food safety, skeptical of production practices and worried about animal welfare as well as what’s not found on the label. “Consumers are looking for standardized approaches to organic or other forms of labeling. They're looking for some help cutting through the noise or cutting through some of their confusion. So when it comes to consumers, understanding of transparency or their top concerns, we're seeing nutritional benefits, animal welfare, ecological impact, food safety, and standardizing organic.” - Cheryl Auger This Week’s Podcast: Meet Cheryl Auger, Director of Client Success MotivBase, and Jim Lanier, Senior Manager Animal Welfare and Market Quality Assurance with HEB Grocery. Explore insights into consumer behavior with regards to food chain transparency and where they are placing their priorities Discover how consumer wants and concerns have evolved over time and how producers...
33 minutes | Jun 17, 2022
Sharing The Dairy Sustainability Story With Consumers
Consumers are interested in the sustainability of their food products and the impact food production is having on the environment. While many misconceptions exist about the sustainability of animal agriculture, data and science bring clarity to the sustainability story, helping stakeholders from farm to fork understand the progress made so far and focus on continuous improvement. “It is a really interesting time because we're seeing the sustainability concerns, not just coming into play as a desire for more information, but actually as a driver of decision making….Consumers are more and more identifying sustainability as a broader set of terms, including responsible farming, land management, water use, animal welfare and even areas like antibiotic use and labor relations. So it is a category that's going to become broader and broader and require the marketplace to be very nimble in addressing this as it evolves.” - Andy Harig Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Tara Vander Dussen, Environmental Scientist, Dairy farmer and co-founder of Elevate Ag, Jamie Jonker, Chief Science Officer and Vice President of Sustainability & Scientific Affairs for National Milk Producers Federation, and Andy Harig, VP of the Food Marketing Institute “It's important I think for our customers and consumers to understand that dairy farmers, like Tara, day in and day out, do their very best on their individual farms….they work with their animals, their land, their family, and their employees on the sustainability trajectory that is best for their individual business. Each dairy farm looks a little different and so their sustainability journey's gonna be a little bit different, but every dairy farm has that sustainability journey and the National Dairy Farm Program provides a way to capture metrics that can be added to (their) important stories.” -Jamie Jonker We are finding that not only are consumers seeking sustainability in their food items but fortunately they are also open to trust the sustainable labels they see on their food packaging and the stories they hear about producers. Jamie shares that “consumers are not wanting perfection but wanting improvement.” Sharing the story of producers, how they have improved their efforts and what changes they are planning for the future are what consumers are seeking. “I think that sometimes we get caught up in the latest trends in advancements, and we forget to share with consumers what we have been doing. I think we have to do a better job of taking consumers along on this journey….We have a track record of improving. We know we can do better. We know that we have done better in the past so we've set big goals for the future and we know we can get there.” - Tara Vander Dussen This Week’s Podcast: Meet Tara Vander Dussen, Environmental Scientist, Dairy...
29 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
2022 Food Industry Outlook: Tackling Challenges and Change with Collaboration and Innovation
As we enter a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agriculture industry continues to face more challenges and change. The U.S. Beef Industry is balancing strong market prices with lower cattle numbers and higher costs for labor, transportation, and feed while also managing international shifts and workforce shortages. On the retail side of the food value chain, finding workers remains the top foodservice challenge coupled with keeping shelves stocked amid ongoing supply chain struggles. Meanwhile, at the center of the food industry focus is on the ever-evolving consumer who is looking at food differently. In addition to filling empty bellies, consumers are increasingly using food to improve their health and they want transparency and sustainability. It’s a tall order for the industry to address. Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Jessica Clowser Burkham, the Beef Alliance Managing Director and Craig Wilson, Vice President, QA & Food Safety from Costco to try to address some of these ongoing challenges. “The (Beef) Alliance prides ourselves on being forward-thinking in the industry and identifying and dealing with these industry disruptions. We want to utilize our size. We are the biggest, so we'll definitely want to use that to positively influence not only policy, but business partner relationships with our packers, retailers and food service and address industry trends to foster some long term viability while essentially delivering high quality and nutritious products.” - Jessica Clowser Burkham Ongoing food value chain challenges for discussion: How can collaboration from producer to retailer help all segments of the industry adapt and advance? Where can we leverage innovation to help navigate these new challenges? And how can we pivot to meet new consumer demands in this ever-changing environment? It would appear that no matter which sector of the food value chain you call home, we share similar challenges. Inflation driving food prices up and in some cases consumer demand down, labor and the lack of available workers, and ongoing supply chain issues which impact product availability and evolving consumer preferences and demands. We have really strong collaboration where we know what (our suppliers) do. We set some expectations, they set some expectations and we work together to get that great product that our members want. Because at the end of the day…being able to provide our Costco members with great prices on great products all the time. And that takes very close collaboration all the way down to the feed yards, all the way back up to where the cattle are converted and broken into the cuts that we need… And it's the same on the produce side. We want to work directly with growers on quality, delivery, and that whole supply chain to make sure that our members are getting what they want. - Craig Wilson This Week’s Podcast: Meet Jessica Clowser Burkham, the Beef Alliance Managing Director and Craig Wilson, Vice President, QA & Food Safety from Costco Explore how retailers and producers have adapted over the course of the pandemic and what challenges they will face going forward Discover ongoing innovation pushing the industry forward across the...
30 minutes | Mar 29, 2022
Celebrating Women in Agriculture and Animal Health
In honor of Women’s History Month and National Ag Day, we’re talking to three leaders in agriculture who will share their experiences and discuss progress and opportunities to support and elevate women in agriculture, the veterinary profession and throughout the industry. The number of women leading careers in this space continues to grow as shown by these statistics: 36% of US farmers are women and 56% of all farms have at least one female decision-maker according to the 2019 Census of Agriculture According to the AVMA 2020 statistics, 64% of US veterinarians are women and 90% of certified veterinary technicians are women as reported by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in 2017. Additionally, according to a 2017 report by the AAVMC, 80% of veterinary students were women – a statistic that 50 years earlier was reversed But the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Women are actively shaping and changing the agricultural and animal health industries, leading not only on the farm, but paving the way for the future of professional and industry organizations and agricultural businesses. "There's room for all of us. The faster we realize that one person's success does not take away from our own and if we bring others with us, we can make a better impact." - Marissa Hake “Having women involved has been a huge asset to the cattle industry. Confidence is just part of it – don’t be scared to be the only woman in the room.” - Trista Brown “Confidence in your abilities is part of it, and you’ve got to believe in yourself – then have the courage to make the leap.” - Terri Moore Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode, Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Trista Brown-Priest, Chief Strategy Officer, Cattle Empire 3rd generation on the feeder operation; Terri Moore, VP Communications for the American Farm Bureau Federation and formerly deputy director of communications at the White House, and director of communications at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA); and Dr. Marissa Hake, the “Calf Vet” and Director of Animal Welfare and Sustainable Farming for Fairlife. This Week’s Podcast: Meet Trista Brown-Priest, Chief Strategy Officer, Cattle Empire 3rd generation on the feeder operation;
32 minutes | Nov 29, 2021
The Human-Animal Bond
The human-animal bond has become a trendy topic of discussion as of late, especially as we were all forced by the global pandemic to stay at home. A Harris poll showed that 89% of Americans said their pets brought them comfort during the pandemic and 82% felt less lonely as a result of their pet. These statistics support the fact that the human-animal bond is more than a trend. The bond between pets and their people is not just something we “think” we experience but is actually backed by science that shows the benefits of our relationships with pets to our health and wellbeing. Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Dr. Jen Chatfield, double-board certified veterinarian and co-host of the podcast “Chat with the Chatfields,” which she does with her twin brother, also a veterinarian, and Dr. Taylor Tillery, a veterinarian and member of the team at Merck Animal Health. Together they explore the evolution, definition and evidence regarding the value of the human-animal bonds. “You know I think (the human-animal bond) just releases the good hormones, like serotonin and oxytocin. I know that we've seen what that does and then what that does is it drops our cortisol levels. So it really reduces our stress….. So I think those are all fantastic things.” -Dr. Taylor Tillery If we start at the beginning, the human-animal bond has existed for literally thousands of years. Humans have lived with animals and animals provided for us but over the past 50-100 years, our understanding of our relationship with animals has evolved. Fewer people are involved in farming and our pets have left the backyard and moved into the home with us. They have become our companions and are considered members of our families. The American Veterinary medical Association defines the human-animal bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and wellbeing of both.” “We know (the human-animal bond) extends (the pets) lifespan significantly because they're safe. We end up anthropomorphizing a lot with companion animals, for sure. But….I know for a fact she enjoys every one of the toys that are littering my cottage right now for her. And so I think that pets also get that bond.” - Dr. Jen Chatfield This Week’s Podcast: Meet Dr. Jen Chatfield, double-board certified veterinarian and co-host of the podcast “Chat with the Chatfields,” and Dr. Taylor Tillery, a veterinarian and member of the team at Merck Animal Health. Explore the evolution, definition and value in the human-animal bond Discover the many types of human-animal bond interactions within the field of veterinary medicine and the effect that has on veterinary professionals
32 minutes | Oct 26, 2021
Technology and Transparency in Animal Agriculture
In this episode we explore the intersection of animal agriculture technology and how it might be used to satisfy consumer demand for transparency. Listeners will walk away with a better understanding of how agriculture and food system leaders can meet the needs of our diverse stakeholders – farmers and ranchers, veterinarians, protein processors, retailers and restaurants, and, ultimately, consumers. Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Andy Harig with FMI, The Food Industry Association and Paul Koffman, from the Merck Animal Health Intelligence team. They explore the growing use of technology in animal agriculture, especially as it pertains to transparently sharing information throughout the supply chain. “(Consumers) are really engaged in health and wellness, and they really expect retailers and the entire food supply chain to be partners. So….ingredients, certification, and nutrition, those have really topped the list of how people see transparency.” - Andy Harig Many consumers are several generations removed from the farm and they rely on those of us in the food chain to share information. Technology has increasingly played an important role in this communication. At the same time, trust has become a real obstacle in sharing transparency. Andy explains that “even though people sometimes mistrust technology, it's technology that's gonna help to be more transparent.” Technology continues to advance and make our lives easier but you might be surprised to learn how it has also advanced in agriculture. Advancements in technology can help meet consumer demand for information and greater transparency within today’s food system. “We work with producers, ranchers, dairy farmers, beef producers, cattle producers, feedlots, et cetera on their goals. We work with them on what their challenges may be and help come up with an opportunity where technology can help them meet their goals or overwhelm those challenges that they're faced with.” - Paul Koffman This Week’s Podcast: Meet Andy Harig with FMI, The Food Industry Association and Paul Koffman, from the Merck Animal Health Intelligence team Explore the research behind consumer priorities in shopping including transparency throughout the food supply chain Discover the programs Merck Animal Health has available to assist stakeholders in achieving, promoting and reflecting the consumers values.
28 minutes | Aug 26, 2021
Caring for Pets with Separation Anxiety
During the pandemic, many people adopted new pets and many long-time pets enjoyed having the extra attention from their owners who were now working from the dining room table. Now, as the Covid-19 vaccine rolls-out, more and more people have started going back to the office and to school – and their pets may not be happy about it. Today, we’re focusing on separation anxiety. We’ve developed a handy infographic to give pet owners tips to recognize separation anxiety along with suggestions for helping your pet cope and that’s what we’ll discuss today. Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. In this episode Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, speaks with Dr. Keri Shaver, professional services veterinarian at Merck Animal Health and Dr. Lisa Lippman, a veterinary general practitioner in New York, about ways to recognize and mitigate separation anxiety in our pets during this transition. “Some of the warning signs are….destructive behavior, vocalizing, if you have a video camera on them, often you'll see panting and pacing, potentially urinating or defecating, particularly by the door because they're trying to get out to their owners. So really just destructive and anxiety ridden behaviors.” - Dr. Lisa Lippman Dr. Lippman recommends slowly transitioning a dog to feel more comfortable with independent activity. This includes leaving your pet for very short periods of time and incrementally increasing the length of separation while they are calm with a toy, a high value treat or music. She also emphasizes not to make coming and going a big event that may encourage and reinforce anxious and excited behavior. If behaviors persist she suggests contacting your veterinarian to discuss referrals for training or if severe a veterinary behaviorist for support and solutions. Dr. Shaver adds that creating a behavior modification plan with your veterinarian may help create a gradual plan to condition the animal to tolerate independence. She shares that “it's a lifestyle change” to help teach your pet the coping mechanisms it may need while you are gone. “At the end of the day, it still comes down to the training, which is so so so important. And so having a good outlined detailed plan is going to really be the mainstay of treatment there.” - Dr. Lisa Lippman This Week’s Podcast: Meet Dr. Keri Shaver, professional services veterinarian at Merck Animal Health and Dr. Lisa Lippman, a veterinary general practitioner in New York Explore the symptoms and signs of separation anxiety in our pets Discover resources, tips and tricks you can use to encourage your pet to remain calm and relaxed while you are away
26 minutes | Aug 10, 2021
Creating a Culture of Self-Care
Merck Animal Health is committed to the well-being of our communities, our employees, and our customers. Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, once again brings us a valuable discussion, this time focusing on mental health. Jane is joined by Dr. Elizabeth Strand, founding director of veterinary social work at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Judson Vasconcelos, head of the Merck Animal Health Veterinary & Consumer Affairs team. Dr. Strand shows us how we can create a “culture of care” while also exploring practical tips each of us can use to ensure our mental well-being. “The experience of stress and compassion fatigue that we know from the research that Merck has led is something that veterinarians and other veterinary professionals face.” - Dr. Elizabeth Strand Merck Animal Health is currently conducting its third wellness study to evaluate the mental wellbeing of the veterinary profession. These studies have certainly highlighted an area of concern in veterinary mental health. Dr. Elizabeth shares that in her program “when an individual is struggling we never see that as only the individual’s responsibility.” She has observed veterinary professionals having difficulty practicing effective self care. “We have to actually be living in cultures of care where there are some norms….of what is acceptable to talk about, what is acceptable to do and how we look out for one another.” Dr. Strand recommends a discussion guide to improve conversation about wellbeing and providing access to resources so anyone can get help when they need it. She reiterates that “you are not alone, wherever you are in your experience...you are not alone.” “It's not just an individual saying I need to do this for myself but it's being within an organization or community that says it's okay to take care of yourself.” - Jane Dukes This Week’s Podcast: Meet Dr. Elizabeth Strand, founding director of veterinary social work at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine Explore the results of the studies Merck has conducted regarding mental well being in the veterinary community Discover different resources available to support anyone who may be struggling. Learn about the Wellness Recovery Action Plans and how they can add support, accountability and promote discussion Resources: Free Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) app Vetwellbeing.com Free Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Cognitive Behavioral Model and Tools Cardiac Coherence Coherent Breathing Exercise
28 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
The Role of Protein in a Healthy Balanced Diet with Kim Kirchherr, RDN
Jane Dukes, Senior Manager with the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Consumer Affairs Team, leads us in a discussion about the foods we choose and the benefits they provide our health. In this episode Jane asks Kim Kirchherr, a registered dietitian, about the role protein plays in a healthy balanced diet and her approach to encouraging the public to consider their nutritional choices. “I combine that healthcare and that food retail and that agriculture perspective and put it all together. It's been really great because that's really where people's heads are at with the conversations that they're having about their food right now.” - Kim Kirchherr Kim shares that protein is an “essential part of our nutrition conversation” and goes far beyond the common perception of muscle building. Proteins provide many significant nutrients and add value to the immune system. Kim remarks that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the general public to make their health a priority and explore ways they can prepare food at home to support that health. Going forward, portion control, a balanced diet and using food to acquire nutrition are the three principles of the dietary guidelines that dietitians and health professionals focus on. “We are solving people's problems for them. Let's give them the tools that they can solve the problems for themselves instead of the tactical facts that there are so many of. If we could get to that state, I think we would have amazing food and agriculture conversations.” This Week’s Podcast: Meet Kim Kirchherr, a registered dietician, who shares her approach and perspective on modern nutrition Explore the significance of protein in a healthy balanced diet Learn about the cultural shifts Kim is observing in the public's regard to diet Discover the many factors that contribute to food choices and nutritional benefits Resources: Dietary Guidelines What are proteins and how do they work? Fact Sheet about Iron My Plate: Dairy My Plate: Healthy Protein
33 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
A Collaborative Approach to Sustainability
Dr. Angela Basinger is the animal welfare lead for North America for Merck Animal Health. She works to create sustainability across the entire food chain including the producer, retailer and veterinary medical professional. She is joined by Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at the OSI group. “There needs to be a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach taken in order to improve beef sustainability and to do that in ways that work for everybody.” -Nicole Johnson-Hoffman “Our work has no credibility if our critics don’t participate in the work….we have to engage with our communities and our critics in order to understand what they care about and what they expect from us as participants in the industry.” - Nicole Johnson-Hoffman This Week’s Podcast: Meet Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer of the OSI Group Explore sustainability roundtables practices, participants and purposes Learn about discussions and priorities taking place in different animal agriculture groups Discover how you can become an active part of these discussions to contribute in the perpetual evolution of animal agriculture.
27 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
Shelter Health and Animal Welfare
Today’s episode explores the important connection between caring for animals and building strong communities. We’re talking about animal welfare and shelter health. When you hear the term animal shelter, you probably already have an idea in mind of what that means. This episode may inspire you to broaden that view in ways that bring more value to both animals and local communities. We have on the show Dr. Jyothi Robertson, who is a board certified veterinarian in shelter medicine. She works for Adisa, which does leadership development, professional development, and strategic planning and design for organizations involved in animal welfare and volunteerism. Jyothi also is the chair of the animal welfare committee for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). She has been consulting in shelter medicine, which is a relatively new field in veterinary medicine, since 2010. Also joining us back on the show is Dr. Angela Baysinger, who is the lead for animal welfare on the Veterinary and Consumer Affairs team at Merck Animal Health. Angela works with veterinarians that do technical service work with animal shelters and interacts often with shelter programs, helping with things like training and problem solving. She has a background in animal welfare and is currently pursuing board certification in the field through the American College of Animal Welfare.
27 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Navigating a Crisis...before it happens
September is National Preparedness Month, and we’re right smack in the middle of hurricane season witnessing the devastation this natural weather event brings to anyone in its path. The deadly fires in California also remind us we should be prepared. And, in the midst of a global pandemic, we need only to turn on the news to be reminded daily of the health crisis we face around the world. Jane Dukes, senior account manager at Merck Animal Health Veterinary & Consumer Affairs and Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications at the Animal Agriculture Alliance, provide some critical components to preparing a crisis management plan. Learn more about crisis management here: https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/about/us/veterinary-consumer-affairs/article/jane-dukes-navigating-a-crisis
21 minutes | Sep 14, 2020
Our UNCONDITIONAL commitment
In this episode, Dr. Judson Vasconcelos describes Merck Animal Health's Unconditional Program. "We believe the world should be more Unconditional in thought and action. We believe we can learn a lot about unconditional trust, patience, love and forgiveness from the animals we help every day. And, we believe we can make the world a better place – and it starts with each of us." - Dr. Judson Vasconcelos The Unconditional commitment is focused on six key areas: 1. Respect for the veterinary profession 2. Compassion for animal care and welfare 3. Commitment for our customers 4. Passion for sustainability 5. Development of our future leaders 6. Caring to make the world a better place Learn more here: https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/responsibility