Social, economical and ecological impacts of animal agriculture cover a broad range of perspectives affecting farmers. Those areas will be covered March 8 when Michigan State University (MSU) Extension hosts “Let’s Talk Animals.”

“Animal agriculture is vital to the Michigan economy, but consumers and residents are concerned about livestock production systems,” says Wendy Powers, director of environmental stewardship for animal agriculture at MSU. “Our goal isn’t to tell people what to do, but to help them frame the subject so they can have insightful conversations in their own communities.”

The event, held in conjunction with MSU’s annual Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week (March 5-13) will review the science on these issues and give attendees an opportunity to interact with a wide range of scientists, researchers and stakeholders to enhance understanding of animal agriculture in Michigan.

A talk on the challenges and concerns facing animal agriculture will kick off the session with Paul Thompson, professor of philosophy and agricultural economics at MSU.

Then Powers will join Steve Lovejoy, professor of agriculture, food and resource economics at MSU and Catherine Badgley, research scientist and assistant professor of biology at the University of Michigan, to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various production systems based on the environment, the economy and communities.

“There is no single answer to the growth of animal agriculture in Michigan,” says Powers. “We hope to arm them with science-based information so they can look at how issues surrounding food animal production affect their community.”

Learn more about MSU’s ANR Week by visiting