Leading Agricultural Experts Offer Opposing Views at Alltech's Symposium
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Press release date: May 21, 2009
[Lexington, KENTUCKY] - The 2009 'Great Debate' held during Alltech's 25th International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, saw three global agricultural leaders present differing views on sustainability. Offering insightful opinions, the panelists commented on a variety of issues with topics ranging from environmental concerns to raw material traceability.
Dr. Lutz Goedde from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Philip Wilkinson OBE (Order of the British Empire), managing director, 2 Sisters Group (the United Kingdom's largest chicken producer) and Professor Michael Boehlje of Purdue University each took the stage to discuss their ideas in front of over 1000 delegates representing top global agribusinesses.
"We will only have a sustainable system if farmers are protecting their assets," said Dr. Lutz Goedde, deputy director Agriculture Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Sustainability is more than just sustaining your own business. It is the next generation and the next generation. The United States' response is disappointing. We need to broaden our horizons," said Prof. Michael Boehlje, Department of Agricultural Economics and the Centre for Food and Agricultural Business (CAB), Purdue University. "Children do not believe that intensive agriculture and sustainability are compatible...We need to shape the definition or the textbooks will," he continued. "The main limitation on agricultural sustainability in the future is people and the understanding of what sustainability is. Calorie demand doubled in the past 30 years and will continue to grow. Population will increase, the climate is changing and water is an issue for all," according to Philip Wilkinson, OBE, managing director, 2 Sisters Group. "We need to take a leaf out of Dr. Lyons' talk and be proud of what we do....We need to be passionate about what we do. Then, and only then can we win the hearts and minds of our consumers," he said.
Alltech's 2nd annual industry 'Great Debate' was held during the company's 25th International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium which took place in Lexington, Kentucky, USA from the 17th to the 20th May 2009.
Commenting on the debate, Alltech President and Founder, Dr. Pearse Lyons, said, "It has been an honor for us to host these respected figures at our 25th Symposium. Sustainability for Alltech is about long term business. That means finding ways to produce meat, milk and eggs in a manner which is not only economically viable, but also recognizes the relationship that production has with the environment, consumer needs and with the importance of traceability. It is clear that sustainability must be viewed through the prism of the economic crisis. Our industry has no other choice than to become more cost efficient."
About the speakers:
Dr. Lutz Goedde - Deputy Director, Agriculture Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr. Lutz Goedde is deputy director in the Agricultural Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He previously worked as a senior executive in the agricultural inputs sector. As CEO and President, he led the turnaround of Alta Genetics, the world's largest privately owned cattle genetics improvement and artificial insemination company. Prior to his leadership of Alta Genetics, he was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, the world's foremost strategy consulting firm, in their Toronto and Chicago offices. He focused his consulting work on agriculture, food and healthcare, becoming co-lead of the firm's Agriculture & Food Chains industry practice. In his earlier career he worked as a marketing manager for Bayer's crop protection business in Central America. Dr. Goedde is fluent in English, German and Spanish and has extensive work experience in North America, Latin America, Europe, Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Bonn, Germany, and an MBA with honors from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Philip Wilkinson OBE - Managing Director, 2 Sisters Group
Philip Wilkinson is managing director of the 2 Sisters Food Group, the United Kingdom's largest producer of chicken. Starting out as a management trainee at the Milk Marketing Board of England and Wales, he progressed through a range of different roles within the industry, culminating in that of Managing Director of Arla Foods Plc, one of the leading producers of milk products in Denmark and the UK. In parallel with this career, he has spoken at the Harvard Agribusiness Seminar. He has also served on the board of many of the leading UK Governmental bodies looking at food policy and sustainability. Mr. Wilkinson received an OBE in recognition of his contribution to the food industry. Professor Michael Boehlje - Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Center for Food and Agricultural Business (CAB), Purdue University.
Professor Michael Boehlje has devoted his career to helping farm and agribusiness managers as well as policy makers understand the pragmatic economic and financial consequences of their decisions. The fundamental focus of his work has been to integrate concepts of economics, finance, and strategy to solve problems of farm and agribusiness managers. A major theme of Professor Boehlje's research, writing and lecturing for the past 10 years has been the importance of strategic planning and thinking, and positioning the firm for long-term viability and success. His work has attempted to extend and apply modern management concepts of systems analysis, process control, transactions cost, strategic positioning, real options and supply/value chain management to the food production, processing and distribution system. Dr. Boehlje is the author or co-author of four books, and over 450 articles and other publications. He is also Senior Associate of Centrec Consulting. He is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association and of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association. Professor Boehlje is known for his passionate defense of commercial and industrial agriculture and his understanding of many of the issues we face today. As Professor at Purdue University, he has been involved with many of the agribusiness programs which are held there.
For more information, visit www.alltech.com/symposium.