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DAA: Gary M. Weber

Gary M. Weber

Fishers Landing,, NY | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2012

Gary Weber uses his education, experience, and skills to bridge the gap between science and society. He has contributed sciencebased solutions and a commonsense approach to challenges in diverse areas of animal agriculture, including sustainability, food safety, water quality, animal health, and international trade. “The cattle industry is where my heart is,” says the native of Angola, Indiana. He describes his current position as working with cattle and beef producers to evaluate and monetize risk reduction that will be of financial benefit to them. This specifically involves supporting efforts to license and commercialize a vaccine to reduce the shedding of E. coli O157:H7 for cattle in the United States and Canada. He interacts not only with the cattle production and beef processing sectors, but also with the produce industry, Congress, regulatory agencies, and the media. This job capitalizes on the expertise he gained in prior experiences. As executive director of regulatory affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Association, he worked on public policy issues pertaining to meat inspection, animal health, beef safety, research, and education. During the 1996 bovine spongiform encephalopathy crisis in Europe, he developed and led the organization’s media response (including two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show), and played a critical role during BSE incidents in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Frequently in the media spotlight, Weber built a reputation for honesty. In 2007 he launched a consulting company to help clients deal with the forces of change in the areas of food safety, meat inspection, antibiotic resistance, animal well-being, environmental issues, homeland security, and crisis management. Weber considers himself a scientist first: “Regardless of the role I’m in, I try to apply the scientific method. Science is an open and transparent process that is very inclusive, and it’s a culture of dialogue and debate to find the right answers.” Weber enjoys spending time (and especially fishing) with his five daughters, ages 8 to 24, and continuing to learn by reading and thinking about science and political science literature.