Speakers 2020


Charlotte Winder, BSc DVM DVSc, University of Guelph, Canada

Dr. Winder received her DVM from the University of Guelph then worked in private practice for 6 years. She then obtained her DVSc from the University of Guelph, followed by conducting research as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Population Medicine. Dr. Winder joined the faculty of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 2018. Her research focuses on improving the health and performance of ruminant species, primarily dairy cattle and small ruminants. She is a clinician with the ruminant ambulatory practices and teaches in the DVM program. Dr. Winder also sits on the board of the Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners.

Nigel Cook, BSc BVSc Cert. CHP DBR MRCVS University of Wisconsin School of Vet Medicine

Dr. Cook is a Professor in the Food Animal Production Medicine section of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine. He qualified as a veterinarian in 1992 and worked in a large food animal clinic in Southern England for four years before moving to the Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, where he spent three years as lecturer and head of the Large Animal Ambulatory Clinic. Since 1999 he has been in Wisconsin, teaching veterinary students, performing research and developing outreach to improve dairy cattle well-being. His particular interests include lameness prevention, cow comfort and improving facility design. He developed The Dairyland Initiative – a resource to drive the creation of welfare friendly cattle housing in 2010. He is currently Chair of the Department of Medical Sciences, Past President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and was awarded the WVMA Veterinarian of the Year in 2019.

Courtney Daigle BSc Msc PhD, Texas A&M

Dr. Daigle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, where she is also a faculty advisor for the Texas A&M Animal Welfare Judging Team and the Texas Aggie Cattlewomen. She received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Oklahoma State University, then worked in the zoo industry for several years before receiving a Master of Science in Zoo & Aquarium Management and a Doctor of Philosophy in Animal Science from Michigan State University. Dr. Daigle then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Animal Welfare Science at Purdue University. Her research specializes in developing and quantifying the impact of management practices designed to optimize animal health, productivity, and welfare.

Emily Yeiser-Stepp, BSc MSc, National FARM

Ms. Yeiser-Stepp is the Senior Director of the National Dairy FARM Program. In this role, she is responsible for the management of strategic initiatives for the US dairy industry’s social responsibility program that encompasses animal care, antibiotic stewardship, environmental stewardship and workforce development. She also leads the day-to-day work related to animal care. Ms. Yeiser-Stepp has been with National Milk Producers Federation since 2016. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Agribusiness Management from Penn State University, where she was an active member of the Dairy Science Club, member of the collegiate dairy judging team, a sister of Alpha Zeta Fraternity and President of the American Dairy Science Association-Student Affiliate Division. Ms. Yeiser-Stepp then worked for ABS Global Inc. as their Young Sire Program Specialist in the Mid-Atlantic region. She obtained her Masters of Science degree in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech, where her research focused on how mastitis and metabolic diseases impact on dairy cow behavior. Ms. Yeiser Stepp then served as the Dairy Initiatives Manager for the Center for Dairy Excellence in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for 4 ½ years, where she was responsible for the execution of on-farm resource programs and the development and outreach to the industry’s next generation through the Center’s Foundation. Immediately preceding her role with the FARM Animal Care Program, she served as the Dairy and Beef Extension Coordinator at the University of Maryland.


Henry Zerby, VP of Protein Procurement and Innovation at Wendy’s

Henry joined Quality Supply Chain Co-op (QSCC) in 2016. His team is responsible for the supply chain development and acquisition of all animal protein products on the Wendy’s menu (beef, chicken, bacon, sausage, eggs, and cheese). Henry also provides guidance and thought leadership to the American Beef Initiative (ABI) and serves as a member of Wendy’s Animal Welfare Council.

Prior to joining QSCC, Henry served as Chair of the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. The Department was comprised of approximately 750 students (undergraduate and graduate), 60 staff, and 34 faculty members. It also utilized multiple animal facilities (Beef, Dairy, Equine, Poultry, Sheep, and Swine) and a federally inspected abattoir to engage in comprehensive teaching, research, and outreach programs. Henry’s research program focused on treatments and technologies that enhance the efficiency of food animal production while simultaneously improving the inherent qualities of the resulting meat products (tenderness, water holding capacity, flavor, color, and wholesomeness).

Henry previously served as consultant to Wendy’s Quality Assurance team from 2005 through 20016. In that role he provided technical expertise related to meat products, performed 3rd-party Animal Welfare, Product Quality, and Food Safety audits in harvest and further processing facilities for all animal protein products in the Wendy’s system.

Henry obtained his Ph.D. and M.S. in Meat Science from Colorado State University and his Bachelor of Science in Dairy and Animal Science with Minors in Poultry Technology and Management and International Agriculture from Pennsylvania State University.

Beth Ventura, BSc MSc PhD, University of Minnesota

Dr. Ventura is the Animal Behavior and Welfare Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. Originally from San Diego, California, Dr. Ventura obtained a PhD in animal welfare from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where her research sought to understand stakeholder priorities and concerns in the dairy industry, with the goal of identifying policy solutions that work for both farmers and animals. She holds a BS in Animal Science from Michigan State University and an MS in Animal and Avian Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Ventura’s teaching program equips students with the foundational skills to navigate the issues facing the animal industries in a rapidly changing society. She aims to engender her students with the knowledge of both the science and values that affect the practice of raising and keeping animals for companionship, food, entertainment, and science. Dr. Ventura founded the university’s first Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Team and has created opportunities for student exchange, study abroad, and other chances for students to gain international perspectives on the issues explored in the classroom.

Jesse Robbins, BSc PhD, Iowa State

Dr. Robbins earned his BS in Agricultural Science and Environmental Ethics from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where he also managed a small lambing operation. He then worked as Program Director for the Washington State Dairy Federation representing the state’s dairy farmers on issues ranging from immigration and environmental stewardship to animal welfare. During his tenure there, Dr. Robbins also served as Project Manager for Washington Dairy Industry Research and Education Program. Dr. Robbins earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program. His research spans both the biological and social sciences. His primary research interest is in applying psychological theory and methods to the study of diverse human-animal interactions and issues of agricultural sustainability. To date, Dr. Robbins has studied the relationship between farm size and indicators of animal welfare; factors affecting public trust in the US food system; the effects of non-therapeutic surgeries (i.e. tail docking and ear cropping) on perceptions of both dogs and their owners; and attitudes towards the creation of genetically-modified animals. Dr. Robbins currently works as a post-doctoral fellow in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, where he is conducting behavioral research on social bonding between suckler beef calves in addition to developing animal welfare training curriculum for veterinary students.

Chase DeCoite, Director, Beef Quality Assurance Programs

Chase DeCoite serves as the Director of Beef Quality Assurance Programs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.  In this role, Chase oversees the day-to-day operations of the BQA program as well as program development and training initiatives.  Prior to his current role, Chase was Public Policy Intern in NCBA’s Washington, DC office. Chase earned his bachelor’s in Animal Science from UC Davis and attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for graduate school where his research focused on consumer perceptions of beef animal welfare programs. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Anna.


Sharing is Caring - Click Below to Share