Global food production will need to double within the next five decades to feed the rapidly growing population. “Finding a sustainable solution with limited resources will be challenging,” said Aviagen CEO Jan Henriksen speaking before an audience of 300 Brazilian poultry industry leaders at the 36th annual FACTA Conference held May 14-16 in Sao Paulo.

Henriksen shared his view on the role of the poultry breeding industry in meeting those challenges.  He asserted that poultry is the most affordable, sustainable source of protein of the major meat-producing industries and its popularity is rising across the social-economic levels.

With a low carbon footprint, poultry production is friendly to the environment, making it a sustainable solution, Henriksen said.  Genetic advances in feed and water efficiency strengthen the sustainability benefit even further by contributing to the conservation of water, farmland, and farming costs. Some of the greatest challenges are limited resources in high-growth, emerging economies.  The poultry industry is addressing these challenges with smart farming technologies that enable higher food production with fewer resources.  Henriksen cited examples such as big data collection and analysis applied toward improvements in bird health, welfare, and greater accuracy in predicting production and processing targets.

Henriksen pointed out that In order to continue the development of these sustainable methods and technologies, poultry leaders must continue to work closely with corporations, non-government organizations, and governments, encouraging the industry to develop new sustainable methods and technologies to feed the world.

Among today’s greatest challenges are food safety and trade barriers imposed by poultry disease, biosecurity is key to preventing and strict standards of hygiene coupled with farm intelligence has maximized our ability to prevent poultry disease.  Henriksen offered examples of robots cleaning and sanitizing poultry housing, preventing floor eggs, preventing conditions that threaten bird health, comfort, and biosecurity. And, technology enables monitoring of everyone and everything that comes within the vicinity of birds, keeping away harmful pathogens.

Henriksen pointed out that another great tool being used today is the compartmentalization certification scheme to ensure poultry breeding stock can continue to be shipped during time of disease outbreak in an exporting country.  Aviagen facilities in the UK, US, and India have all achieved this certification.

Many of today’s production improvements are due to selective and balanced breeding techniques applied by poultry genetics leaders. Henrisken stressed that genetic selection has led to consistent improvements in growth rate, reproduction, feed efficiency and livability, as well as health and welfare. Additionally, intense research efforts have given great insight into the nutrition and environmental conditions that lead to the greatest bird health and welfare and enable the birds’ full genetic potential to be reached.

One of the most important responsibilities of the industry in sustaining its future, according to Henriksen, is to attract young, skilled talent with vision and passion. One way to accomplish this goal is to inspire skilled talent and get them excited about agriculture and poultry production. Opportunities in scientific occupations such as veterinarians, nutritionists, incubatiionists, and microbiologist, but also in export logistics, marketing, sales and finance. Henriksen said.




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