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New Penn Vet webinar series invites farmers, industry to participate in sustainable agriculture discussions

 PHILADELPHIA– A new virtual symposium series presented by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), in collaboration with PennPraxis, the community engagement arm at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, will explore the advantages, challenges, and opportunities surrounding animal agriculture and food production systems within Pennsylvania, the surrounding region, and across the United States.  


Comprised of seven individual virtual sessions, the Farm of the Future Symposium series is set to deliver practical, applicable insights from a cross-section of experts and thought leaders, including agriculture industry innovators, farmers and other agricultural producers, ecologists, landscape architects, as well as industry advocates and policymakers.  


The series’ speakers will be structured to stimulate conversations on a broad range of topics pertinent to farming practices such as agribusiness economics and profitability; food security and urban wellness; water and natural resource management; on-farm biodiversity; pasture and nutrient management; rotational grazing; and beyond.   


“Our primary goal for this immersive series is to cultivate an authentic and pragmatic discussion about agriculture and how our food is – or could be – produced,” said Gary Althouse, DVM, PhD, Associate Dean of Sustainable Agriculture and Veterinary Practices at Penn Vet.  


“While offering a platform to raise awareness of the many critical challenges facing agriculture today, the Farm of the Future Symposium series is also a token opportunity to hear directly from producers and other members of the industry about their own needs and desires for tangible livestock farming systems,” Althouse added.  


Ultimately, the symposium’s grassroots conversations will serve as the bedrock for designing an interdisciplinary, living “farm of the future” model to be built on Penn Vet New Bolton Center’s nearly 700-acre campus in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Once established, the model operation will be a critical tool in advancing environmentally, and economically, sustainable farming practices while simultaneously serving as a regional resource for producers to gather more on-farm information to aid in their decision to incorporate these practices into their own agribusiness operations.  


“As a veterinary school, our role does not simply begin and end with animal health,” added Althouse. “On one hand, we can intimately understand and appreciate the specific challenges that agricultural producers face. On the other, we have direct access to a robust, multi-disciplinary expertise network – both within Penn Vet and across Penn’s tapestry of schools and centers – to collectively offer inventive solutions to unmet regional and societal needs under the One Health umbrella,” he said.  


“Together, we hope to forge a viable, progressive animal production-based farming model that will ultimately bolster the resiliency of Pennsylvania’s leading industry: agriculture,” Althouse added.  


The series, which is scheduled to begin on September 30, 2020, will be held every Wednesday afternoon from 2pm-4pm through November 18, 2020


After kicking off with a live introductory event, each session will include distilled presentations, followed by a 45-minute live discussion with the featured speakers. Participants will have the option of reviewing material in advance of the live discussion at a time that best fits their schedule.    


The Farm of the Future Symposium series is free to attend and open to the public.  


To learn more about the series, view the complete speaker schedule, or to register, visit