Conflict, COVID-19 and climate change – three pressing issues that sum up the last three years all too well.
It has been a restless period for all sectors, but agri-food, and specifically animal protein production, has faced a particularly difficult time. Whilst human health made global headlines following the pandemic, the spread of highly pathogenic diseases in animal populations, including African Swine Fever and Avian Influenza, have made their mark on food production globally.
The health and welfare challenges that farmers wrestled dealt with to keep their flocks and herds safe had a knock-on effect on manufacturing costs the costs of running their operations. Governments and regulators have been implementing strategies to control these issues, with the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) recently announcing its strategy to improve rules around exporting vaccinated poultry, and the French Government initiating a plan to vaccinate farmed ducks within the country.
But in the midst of tightened belts and smaller margins, the war in Ukraine and its impact on the global economy has made running a business in an agricultural enterprise much harder. Energy and grain prices across the world are yet to recover from the ongoing conflict, a major factor in the losses and lower profits that many across the sector currently face.
In some cases, investments in energy efficiency have provided some relief, while others have opted for cheaper feed mixes. However, in much of the sector, price increase is unavoidable, and consumers have had to adapt their spending habits to adjust for inflationary pressure. Organics are out and value products are in, meaning producers have less money to address some of the pressing issues facing the future of the sector.
Few issues in the agricultural sector are quite as existential as climate change. Methane from cattle, carbon dioxide from animal feed production, and nitrous oxide from manure management are all essential factors which mitigate the climate crisis.
Large dairy corporations such as Arla, FrieslandCampina, and Fonterra have implemented incentive schemes to reduce farming impact. With many creating regenerative agricultural policies, these practices are becoming widespread in both feed and food production, offering protein production with fewer natural resources, less waste and a lower carbon footprint.
But there is still work to be done and there are enormous challenges for the sector to ensure that the agri-food system continues to feed the increasing global population in a sustainable way. These challenges present an opportunity for the sector to confront them head on, working together to improve the environmental impact of protein production and the care of animals across the supply chain.
Responding to these pressing issues, this year’s Animal AgTech Innovation Summit in Amsterdam will bring together a diverse group of over 300 influential livestock producers, feed companies, animal health and nutrition providers, food retailers, technology providers, entrepreneurs and investors with a shared vision to tackle the global food crisis and improve the meat and dairy production landscape.
The programme is designed to focus on insightful and informative discussions and presentations on a range of important topics including sustainable livestock farming, the challenge of anti-microbial resistance, enhancing on-farm efficiency and strategies for methane reduction. Bringing together senior strategic stakeholders from across the animal agriculture supply chain, the summit is a pivotal opportunity for industry changemakers to share experiences, uncover new solutions and foster new partnerships.
Headline speakers from notable companies, such as Alltech, Arla, MSD Animal Health and FrieslandCampina, are among the line-up of over 80 international experts at the Novotel Amsterdam City during the two-day event.
Notable speakers include:
- Tara McCarthy, Global VP of ESG at Alltech
- Ejnar Schultz, VP Agriculture & Sustainability at Arla
- Sanne Griffoen-Roose, Director Sustainable Farming at FrieslandCampina
- Rob Kelly, SVP & Commercial Leader for EURAM Region at MSD Animal Health
- Christina Schwab, Investment Director at DSM Firmenich Venturing
- Lars Mølbak, Senior Director Head of Innovation Animal & Plant Health & Nutrition at Chr. Hansen
- Steve Meller, CEO at CH4 Global
- Amine Benarbia, R&D Director at Nor-Feed
The summit programme, crafted with input from its Advisory Board, tackles the hard-hitting challenges within the industry and explores different ways to advance the development of innovative solutions and collaborations.
The programme opens with a panel discussion titled “One Health: in Animal Agriculture” where renowned senior figures from the industry will explore the efforts needed to adopt a One Health approach and how bridges can be built to foster greater collaboration between disciplines.
Compelling questions under the spotlight will include:
- Following the global pandemic, what efforts are being seen to adopt a One Health approach in animal agriculture and where can bridges be built to foster greater collaboration between disciplines?
- What areas need more research and funding to develop tools needed for disease prevention and control, food safety and high-welfare farming practices?
- How can the sector communicate its progress in improving the care of animals in farming systems?
- What incentives and education are needed to encourage and support farmers to adopt new methods, for example around biosecurity and responsible use of antimicrobials?
- What early warning systems are in place to increase preparedness for future pathogens?
In-depth session highlights
The summit's agenda is centred around building safe and sustainable meat and dairy production, hosting a range of fascinating sessions across the two days. From Responding to Cost Pressure in Energy and Feed to Holistic Welfare Through Animal Care, the summit will target critical topics across the animal agriculture landscape.
The Animal AgTech Innovation Summit presents a host of networking opportunities from its busy exhibition with start-up booths, to breakfasts, lunches, a drinks reception and a dedicated one-on-one meeting hub tailored for scheduled meetings. The summit’s online networking platform and app open two weeks before the summit for delegates to connect in advance and coordinate their days with valuable meetings.
Liam Jensen, Summit Conference Producer, says: "We can't wait to hear the fantastic innovation in animal feed at the Animal AgTech Innovation Summit.
“Animal nutrition plays such an important role in animal health and welfare as well as the climate impact of the sector, so in a time when energy and grain costs are high, we're giving feed the attention it needs to build sustainability and most importantly, profitability."
Dates: 10-11 October, 2023
Venue: Novotel Amsterdam City
Register before 24 August to qualify for the Early Bird Offer. Save a further 10% per delegate with code FEEDNAV10.