Dairy producers should try to capitalize on valuable opportunities that exist all over the world, Alltech President Pearse Lyons told those attending a Global Dairy 500 meeting last week in Lexington, Ky.

Some say the food industry is in crisis, but the Chinese hieroglyphic for crisis consists of two words: danger or valuable opportunity. The interpretation depends on your perspective.

Lyons offered these suggestions for capitalizing on potential opportunities:

  • Use alternative raw materials. Fiber is the key to the future, and the industry must learn to better use technology to utilize fiber. For example, can you extract more energy from fiber to make a cow’s rumen even more efficient?
  • Adopt technology from other industries. Perhaps human nutrition can provide answers to improved calf nutrition.
  • Differentiate products. Take a lesson from Denmark and differentiate products according to their uses and benefits. Branding and niche markets offer additional opportunities to sell the benefits of milk.
  • Market through traceability:  It is becoming more and more important to know every ingredient, every supplier and every facet of the milk-production chain.
  • Be socially aware and proactive: For example, pollution is becoming a bigger issue. How can producers make sure that their farms are environmentally friendly?
  • Maximize energy sources: Why isn't every farm a power station? The potential exists for this to occur.
  • Education: Get involved with young people, because they are the future of the industry.
  • Go to areas that demand milk: For example, the southeastern United States is milk-deficient. Why not look there for opportunity?