Aug 262010
 
Authors: Kendall Greenwood

Horses, cows and sheep are not in the Lory Student Center today, but up to 2,000 people will be there talking about them.

The Department of Justice, DoJ, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are hosting a Livestock Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 pm.

According to Brad Bohlander, executive director of public relations at CSU, the workshop is expecting up to 2,000 people from all over the country. As of Wednesday, 1,300 people were registered.

According to a press release, this is the fourth of a series of five workshops being held on college campuses from Alabama to Washington. The workshop today will focus on livestock, specifically the competition and regulation of the industry.

The LSC is expected to be very busy throughout the day, particularly around the food court and Sweet Sinsations.

Bohlander and other public relations representatives have heard rumors of animal rights and livestock activists protesting today. He said he had no confirmation, but the event is prepared to handle the activists on the plaza.

According to John Ferrell, the deputy for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, the DoJ and Secretary of USDA held a meeting in August of 2009 to discuss concerns with market competition and the business process in the agriculture market.

Both of the departments planned the series of workshops to answer these questions.

“(We wanted) to hear of recommendations (people in the industry) would have,” Ferrell said. “We just want to make sure producers are getting fair shake out there.”

The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund group from Montana had a goal to bring 25,000 people to this workshop Ferrell said, adding that the uncertainty of the industry was a factor in the planning process.

“That emotion has gotten greater interest for people to attend,” Ferrell said.

The event is free and open to the public, though its not CSU-affiliated.

Bohlander said the LSC’s Main Ballroom was rented for the main event and that the LSC’s room 228, North Ballroom, Cherokee Park Ballroom and Sculpture Garden will be used for overflow. Audio and video is also available in these rooms of the main event since the Main Ballroom can only seat 1,000 registered attendees.

The DoJ and USDA chose to host the event at CSU because it was centrally located, according to Ferrell.

The purpose of this workshop as well as the others is to listen to what people who work in the industry daily have to say about what they think needs to be improved.
“We take all the stakeholders views very seriously,” Ferrell said.

He said these workshops do not promise immediate change, but provide an evaluation of what needs to be changed in the industry. From the workshops, the DoJ and USDA are examining the transcripts very carefully to gain a better understanding of what is going on.

“We want to hear from as many people as we possibly can,” Ferrell said.

Staff writer Kendall Greenwood can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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