Societal drivers are impacting how food-animals are raised in the United States. Add in the changing economic conditions that those in animal agriculture are facing and there are many questions surrounding what the future might bring. Tough issues like improving farm animal and worker health and welfare require a broad perspective, an inquisitive mind, and a commitment to collaboration.

On Jan. 17, the University of Minnesota and other sponsors will present a day-long “Finding Common Ground” event to discuss these issues and more.

Societal concern about livestock welfare, whether rightly or wrongly, has driven some government and private sector policies associated with production system changes, particularly housing methods. However absent from all of this is the discussion of the animal caretaker—his/her role and the impact on the person. Whether the person is the owner/operator, a family member or hired employee, personal safety and health needs to be part of the discussion. Regardless of the production system, it needs to benefit both the animals and the workers.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership, Global Initiative for Food Systems Leadership, and Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center invite you to participate in the fourth “Finding Common Ground” forum, designed to foster conversation among participants with diverse perspectives to discover and advance a common good. Participants from academia, media, industry, intergovernmental, nongovernmental and governmental organizations will examine this issue in a neutral forum that considers multiple perspectives.

Here’s a look as some of what the forum will address:

  • Explore opportunities & conflicts in improving the well-being of food animals and the workers who care for them
  • Strengthen appreciation & respect for different perspectives around animal welfare and worker health strategies
  • Improve our collective ability to address the complexities around animal welfare and worker Health decisions

The meeting will be held on Jan. 17, 2013, and will begin with a Continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., with the sessions running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will take place at the Minnesota Humanities Center, in the Commons Room, at 987 Ivy Avenue East, Saint Paul, Minn. There is a $50 per person registration fee. There is limited space available, so plan to register online at For more information, go to For questions, contact Diane Kampa at or 612-626-4826.