A pair of Dr. Lyons bid us goodbye from the 2013 Alltech International Symposium. Here are son/father, Dr. Mark Lyons and Dr. Pearse Lyons.
Dr. Mark Lyons, vice president of corporate affairs at Alltech, talked to us about 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 in his wrap-up challenged 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.’”
It was tweetup time at the Alltech International Symposium last night at the Lexington Brewing location downtown. We had a big crowd show up to meet each other in person and enjoy some fun and fellowship.
Alltech played a lot of what I would call farmer agvocacy film clips, many of which I had never seen. Most were funny and it ended with a few of the past winners of the Alltech Farming Film Festival competition winners. There’s a new competition by the way so get your creative juices flowing and consider entering your own video.
At the end of the second day’s program here at the 2013 Alltech International Symposium a series of discussion dinners are held on a variety of topics. I chose Crisis Management which ties in to a full session on the topic that I participated in earlier in the day. I’ll have more on that in a later post.
Our dinner on Crisis Management used the “Horsegate” problem as the example to stimulate discussion. We had quite a bit of disagreement in the room which did make it interesting.
Each table was given a few questions to talk about and then share with the rest of the room under the direction of a moderator. Then we had open discussion in which anyone could speak up. One of our attendees (Trent Loos) made a comment that Horsegate was not a crisis but an opportunity as evidenced by the fact that both horse meat sales/consumption and beef increased significantly since this alleged crisis started. So if I understood him correctly, the industry shouldn’t consider this a crisis. The perpetrators of the crime that was committed are no longer in business and no one died or even got sick. On the other side of that idea there were a number of people who talked about damage to the reputation of the industry and that it is a serious matter or crisis situation. This is just one of several ideas debated in the session. It is what makes this such a great idea!
The emerging change in the culture of nutrition was one of the topics of discussion in the afternoon session of the Alltech International Symposium. The session featured areas of research that are revolutionizing the world of nutrition. Among the interesting topics discussed were the use of enzymes as a feed additive for beef, neonatal nutritive programming in chickens and feeding of trace minerals to swine. Dr. Jules Taylor-Pickard told attendees that they should expect the entire blueprint of nutrition to shift by 2020.
Dr. Karl Dawson, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Alltech, was the host of the session. I caught up with him after the session and asked him what producers should consider when evaluating their nutrition strategies. When discussing what producers should do, he said, “They need to get ready to understand those changes, and nutritionist are going to be challenged to take those into account and produce better animals.”
One of the Tuesday morning sessions at the Alltech International Symposium included a Food Branding Panel. The panel was made up of individuals with experience in the restaurant business, retail, local foods, social media, and science. According to Dr. Mark Lyons, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Alltech, the panel was a really good opportunity to talk about miscommunications and issues with sharing information about a company’s product with consumers.
While discussing the problems surrounding food branding by companies, Lyons said, “We are not really engaged. We are scared. We’re concerned. We jump to a lot of conclusions that actually are incorrect.”
The panel talked a lot about the miscommunications and mistakes that are made when communicating between brands and consumers. David Wescott, Vice President of APCO Worldwide and the social media panelist, left the audience with a message for 2020. He said companies must break out of their communities and embrace their customers in order to survive.
We’re all about marketing here on AgWired. That’s why “The Marketing Forum, Branding at its Best” session at the 2013 Alltech International Symposium caught my eye. This session dealt with subjects like transparency, different cultures and protecting the brand.
One of the presenters was Carrie Chestnut Mess, known to the world on Twitter as @DairyCarrie. Carrie is also a committee member for this year’s Agvocacy 2.0 Conference. I visited with her during the Symposium to learn what she learned and what she tried to communicate to the people attending her session.
One of the things she learned from her fellow panel members was the value and importance to American companies of the Latino market, something she had not really though of. Another was the idea that in large part most people involved in agribusiness are not good marketers, hence a lot of the image problems we’re having today. I think you’ll enjoy hearing her ideas and observations.
Last night at Kentucky night, I had the opportunity to catch up with a few of this year’s symposium attendees and ask them why they chose to come.
The first person I caught up with was Clark Springfield division manager with O.H. Kruse Grain and Milling. Springfield is attending the Agribusiness Summit at symposium. The summit is a discussion opportunity for agriculture business people to talk about issues they have witnessed and how to solve them. Springfield said, “It sends me home ready to tackle problems in my own company.”
Ryan Goodman is an agricultural blogger for agricultureproud.com and Master’s student at the University of Tennessee. He came to symposium to learn more about research being done in his area of interest, which is nutrition.
Goodman said he enjoys getting to “interact with a lot of the folks in a similar field across the country and across the world.”
Dr. Pearse Lyons hosts the Alltech International Symposium as the founder and owner of Alltech. He sees symposium as an opportunity to come together as an industry to learn from one another.
Lyons said, “It’s a regeneration. It’s a recharging of the batteries. It’s realizing lots of people have the same challenges you do.”
A highlight of the Alltech International Symposium is the Kentucky Night dinner at the Kentucky Horse Park in the Alltech Arena. After a busy day of conducting business and attending sessions we get casual and relaxed with good food and good friends. There’s also a band and dancing. You can see it in our photos!
We’re now on day two of this year’s Symposium. Maggie has just learned how to edit audio files and will be posting several interviews she did during Kentucky Night. We’ll be attending a number of breakout sessions today and will have lots more to share.
Alltech held a press conference this morning at the 2013 Alltech International Symposium. Behind the microphones are (l-r), Dr. Mark Lyons, VP, Corporate Affairs, Alltech, CHIN; Dr. Pearse Lyons, Founder/President; Dr. Eugenia Wang, Gheens Foundation Inc. Chair in Aging Research, University of Louisville, USA/CHIN and Dr. Karl Dawson, Director of Worldwide Research. The session was moderated by Aidan Connelly, Alltech VP, Corporate Accounts. There are lots of questions about Dr. Wang’s research and Alltech’s growth now and in the future and more, including the rise of craft beers.
Dr. Mark Lyons explained the meaning of GLIMPSE, this year’s Alltech Symposium theme. The idea came from an article written by Aidan J. Connolly, Vice President of Corporate Accounts for Alltech, and Kate Phillips-Conolly that was published in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. You can read the full version of the report here (PDF). The article pinpointed seven challenges that agribusiness faces.
G – Government
L – Losses in the food and ingredient supply chain
I – Infrastructure (trains, trucks, ports, cold storage, supermarkets ect.)
M – Markets
P – Politics and Policies
S – Science and Innovation
E – Environment
Listen to Alltech’s description of their theme from today’s press conference here: Meaning of Glimpse
Dr. Eugenia Wang was the 2013 recipient of the Alltech Medal of Excellence. The photo shows Dr. Pearse Lyons presenting Dr. Wang with the award. Dr. Wang is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Louisville. Her focus is microRNA and its affects on human and animal genomes. Her speech in the opening session offered a glimpse into the future of the field of genetics. Dr. Wang said, “My dream is that by 2020, we may be able to have $2 answers to know our risk factors.”
The opening plenary session of the 2013 Alltech International Symposium concluded with a very rousing version of “If I Ruled The World.” It was performed by Ronan Tynan and Dr. Everett McCorvey. The song follows the closing remarks from Dr. Pearse Lyons when he told us “Let’s go out and rule our particular part of the world.”
Today we heard several glimpses of the future. The big one here at the Alltech International Symposium was given by Dr. Pearse Lyons, Founder, Alltech. As he always does he challenged us. At the beginning of his speech Dr. Lyons played the God Made a Farmer, Dodge Ram Trucks Super Bowl commercial. That phrase became a key part of his message to our audience. Dr. Lyons was introduced by another Dr. Lyons, Dr. Mark Lyons, his son.
I’m jumping in and getting my hands dirty right away. The Alltech International Symposium is my first event as the summer ZimmComm intern. Chuck hasn’t wasted any time putting me to work taking photos, tweeting and now blogging.
It has been pretty incredible to see the amount of influence Alltech has on agriculture as well as how it is truly an international business. The symposium has drawn around 2,400 attendees from 76 countries. I am enjoying getting to meet and talk with a large number and variety of people. Stay tuned for more from me.
It was not easy but it was worth it. It was getting up early this morning for the annual Alltech Fun Run which is very much a part of the Alltech International Symposium experience. Here’s Dr. Pearse Lyons coming across the finish line. I’m proud to say I beat Pearse and was able to get my iPhone up in time for this photo. The Fun Run is two laps around Transylvania University.
We had a big crowd today as you’ll be able to see from this video clip.
The 2013 Alltech International Symposium is getting into full swing here in Lexington, Ky. The Alltech Ag Network is streaming live starting with commentary from Trent Loos and Damien O’Reilly. You can find the live stream here.
Maggie and I are all set up in the press room and this morning at the plenary session room to provide you coverage of all the activities as we experience them.
The Alltech International Welcome & Reception featured world class entertainment again this year with musical performances by students involved in the University of Kentucky, Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. Our musical performances were announced by Dr. Everett McCorvey. However, a favorite each year is having all the dinner attendees led in the singing of the song of Dublin, Molly Malone. The song was led by Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech Founder and President. How many company owners do you see willing to do this and do it so well?
The Symposium kicks into high gear in the morning after an early Fun Run which I’m planning to participate in. So we’ll see you then.
It’s time for one of the best shows of the year, the 2013 Alltech International Symposium. Maggie Seiler, ZimmComm summer intern, and I are on our way. This is a fantastic event for a (perhaps) future agriblogger to jump right into the waters.
We’ll kick off our Symposium adventure this evening at the International Welcome Reception and Dinner, featuring world class entertainment. It’s a social activity where many people now catch up since the last Symposium. I’ve made many international friends at this event and hope to see them in Lexington, KY.
If you’re attending the Symposium then you should consider downloading the Symposium App. Just scan the QR code to get started. Here’s what it will let you do.
During the Symposium
Use the app to manage your schedule, find meeting rooms, get updates on sessions, research speakers, and exchange contact information with other attendees.
After the Symposium
Use the app to stay connected with people you meet and to review session papers and product information.
To follow the Symposium action on Twitter we’re using the hashtag #Glimpse.
Get your cameras rolling for Alltech’s Annual Farming Film Festival. Everybody knows that farmers work extremely hard to feed the world, but not everyone knows how much science goes into farming every day. Farmers are always observing, learning and searching for new ways to take better care of their land, livestock and crops.
This is your chance to show the world the science of farming. If you’re a farmer we want to hear your story. If you’re not a farmer, find one and tell their story.
Participants can enter to win up to $2,000 by submitting their video at FarmingFilmFestival.com. Winners will be chosen by a panel of science and agricultural journalists based on creativity, quality of video and story interest.
The competition will run from May 3 to June 30. Early entrees will be highlighted at GLIMPSE 2020 the 29th Annual Alltech International Symposium in Lexington, Ky., May 19-22. Finalists will be notified July 2 and public voting will take place July 2-21.
Like always, Alltech had a constant crowd gathered to here their newest techniques in agriculture nutrition and technology. I spoke with Jim Bannerman, National Accounts Manager with Alltech, and he shared their focus for 2013.
“We always have a lot of things coming down the pipeline, but probably the main thing that has been coming down the pipeline for quite awhile is our nutrigenomics and how we are starting to apply that more practically to animal nutritional solutions. Nutrigenomics is basically how nutrients or diets affect gene up and down regulation within the animal. And so, basically what we are understanding is we can feed for different things such as meat quality, health and what to feed them at different ages.”