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It’s the longest day of the year, at least that is what I informed my colleague who had not yet attended the FPSA Annual Conference. For staff, Day 2 of the Conference starts before 7am and finishes up after 11pm. At the end of that 16-hour work day, you are simply numb as you try to wrap things up as quickly as possible because you know it will only be a few short hours before your alarm is going off for Day 3. But this is not about staff. After all, we all have our crazy days at work. No, this is about what makes Day 2 perhaps the most meaningful day of the year while working for FPSA and with its members.

Day 2 is when the FPSA Auction takes place, and if you saw our most recent press release, you know that on that night FPSA members managed to generate over $100,000 for the six different causes that are part of our Giving Back program.

For years, this event focused entirely on supporting the MISA Scholarship for well deserving students looking to establish a career in the meat industry, studying either meat sciences or engineering. Stretching back over 25 years, these scholarships have cultivated the academic cream of the crop, many of whom would go on to make important contributions to our industry. In fact, the results of this scholarship program were so strong that FPSA leadership ultimately decided to open up the Auction to all industry segments with FPSA Councils each getting behind a specific cause for their vertical.

Today, these causes now include support of a great organization working to train and employ workers who need a second chance in Greyston Bakery; working with the non-profit, DigDeep, on working to ensure fresh running water to homes in communities of need here in the US; supporting veterans who suffer from PTSD by collaborating with the American Humane Society’s Pups4Patriots program; contributing to academic efforts to advance safe and sustainable food at Oregon State University’s Department of Food Science and Technology; and lastly opening a new scholarship program, the Tom Imbordino Memorials Dairy Science Scholarship, that supports students looking for a career in the Dairy industry and helps them to defray the costs of an expensive education.

Knowing the impact that these Auction proceeds will make, knowing the support and energy that FPSA members have put into these causes, makes it easier to get through such a long day. As we get wrapped up in the work of our daily lives, it’s good to know that behind all of this, there are great people with tremendous heart who want to do their share to give back and make the world a little bit better for people who need it.

If any of these causes speak to you, please know that FPSA and its Councils work with these organizations throughout the year. If you’d like to learn more about them, and/or would like to make a contribution, please contact Elena Sierra at [email protected] for more information.

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP