District Meeting Wrap-up
One of the most memorable perks of rotating through the USAHA presidency is having the opportunity to visit the district meetings. This year was no exception; the hosts were gracious, the discussions were productive, and the opportunities for networking were, as always, plentiful and enjoyable. I was able to attend three of the four geographic district meetings this year. It was a treat and reminded me that U.S. animal agriculture is diverse and challenging. Having colleagues and friends in every part of our country who are subject matter experts in their respective priority areas makes me sleep better at night. Our agricultural industries are in good hands with USAHA at the helm! As I reflect on these visits, several takeaways come to mind that are worth sharing:
Diversifying the meetings can be a productive move! Consider expanding your district meeting by inviting colleagues with specialized areas of interest to participate. Joint sessions allow for useful cross pollination while breakout sessions facilitate dialogue that is beneficial to a smaller sector of professionals. Examples where this has been successful include hosting the state meat inspection directors, regional rabies consortiums, and regional laboratory directors and staff at the USAHA district meetings. You can increase attendance, diversity and networking opportunities by doing this, and you will strengthen those professional relationships in peace time that you can draw on when a crisis arises. Kudos to those district leaders who have explored these opportunities and cultivated these professional relationships.
Always engage your USAHA district-at-large (DAL) colleagues! Our industry members are in every part of the U.S. and formulate this geographic-neutral USAHA district. The benefits of fully engaging industry during the geographic district meetings can’t be overstated. USAHA develops and promotes sound animal health solutions for public good, industry is the branch of our organization that implements those solutions. Remember to always have them at the table.
Make sure the right hand is not competing with the left! Spring is a busy time across the country. Scheduling district meetings is challenging, but you can optimize your meeting’s financial bottom line and attendance by carving out meeting dates that have minimal conflict with other Districts. Meeting sponsors will thank you, and federally employed members will be better able to meet your presentation topic requests. It will be great to bring together the regional expertise in Providence, Rhode Island for USAHA’s marquee event, the 123
rd Annual Meeting, speaking of which, keep reading…