Wall said the problem with the food chain is that that we have convinced the consumer that it’s a straight line from farm to fork; however, there is a major disconnect between the final consumer and modern agricultural practices with issues such as a rising population, diverting food to fuel, global food trade, downward pressure on price and inconsistent country regulations. Wall said every agricultural corporation needs to develop a fully integrated risk-based system by choosing trusted suppliers, managing a well-trained staff, implementing a stringent quality control and regulatory system, using the latest in composite testing, being proactive with consumers and the media, and developing a safe feed culture at the leadership level.
“We have the fundamental goal to provide safe, nutritious food. We are in the human health business. Doctors and nurses are in the sickness business,” Wall said. “What is our most valuable asset? It’s not your farm, your stock or shares. It’s your health and the health of your friends and family. You are in the human health business.”
Dr. Mark Lyons, vice president of corporate affairs at Alltech also stressed the importance of food safety as he shared the company’s vision for helping expand agricultural production in China. According to Lyons, food security is seen as “the potential Achilles' heel of China” and is too big of an issue to ignore publicly.
China’s five-year plan focuses on making farms larger, more efficient and more traceable. For example, half of the world’s pigs live in China and from those 50 million sows, 20 pigs per sow are born alive per year. This equals an annual production of one billion pigs per year. However, due to preweaning mortality, only 600 million actually go to market. The 400 million lost is three times the size of U.S. pig production. In China, one more pig per sow per year would mean one million tons of feed saved.
“What is Alltech’s five-year plan? We want to be a foreign brand with a Chinese heart,” Lyons said. “We want to firmly establish market leadership, partner with the government and leading feed, production and food companies, and give our customers a competitive advantage.”
Founder and president of Alltech, Dr. Pearse Lyons wrapped up Symposium, challenging the delegates to help the farmer of tomorrow and to use the resources provided to them at this year’s event.
“Are you going to fly or are you going to soar? Will you flourish?” Dr. Lyons asked. “You need to leave here today and say, ‘I may not rule the world, but I can have an impact on feeding the world’s growing population.’”
The Symposium’s 175 contributors, 20 sessions and 22 discussion dinners focused on how agribusiness can meet the challenge to produce enough food to feed three billion new urban dwellers, or nine billion people in total by 2050.