Attendees headed home after two fantastic days at Alltech’s flagship beef and dairy event, Global 500. The event broke numerous records this year, during its European debut, with more countries present than ever, a massive five million cattle represented, and a whopping 760 attendees. With the global dairy and beef industries facing numerous challenges recently, talks focused on increasing production efficiency, becoming more profitable and ensuring long-term sustainability; strategies to guarantee the industry’s bright future.
“Agriculture has many powerful positive stories to tell,” said Catherine Keogh, vice president and chief marketing officer at Alltech. She urged dairy farmers to use social media to tell their own stories.
“Many of today’s farmers are online, and they need to see how social media can be the game changer for the industry,” Keogh said. “This has become one of the most important channels for both consumers and producers to share thoughts and opinions within a matter of seconds. We must ensure our voices are heard.”
Damien McLoughlin, professor of marketing and associate dean at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, shared the incredible story of Chobani, a private Greek yogurt company, which has risen from zero to hero in the space of three years. The company was kick-started with an investment of $1 million in 2010, and by 2013, Chobani sales reached $2.68 billion within a competitive market dominated by global giants such as Danone and Nestlé. By creating a new product called Chobani Greek Yogurt, focusing on selling exclusively through major retailers, building brand purely by word-of-mouth and finding the right pricing strategy, Chobani owner Hamdi Ulukaya has managed to avoid competition and has generated phenomenal growth in a very short time.
“The dairy sector has many good cards to play,” said Dr. Patrick Wall, associate professor of public health in University College Dublin's School of Public Health and Population Sciences. “Farm to fork, however, is not a straight line anymore and finding the weak link in today’s highly complex food chain is a challenge for both regulators and producers.” Wall strongly believes that dairy farmers are, in fact in the human health business and advanced animal nutrition is key for a better human health.
“The dairy and beef farmers will have a bright future if they focus on three key words: efficiency, profitability and sustainability,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech founder and president, who encouraged the attendees to “dream, dare, desire, decide and dedicate,” for efficient, profitable and sustainable (EPS) farming.