Executives from DuPont Pioneer, Elanco and Monsanto all participated in a panel discussion at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue last week on “Research and Returns: The Future of Agricultural Technology and Investment.”
“In general, we’re talking about the importance of continued investment and innovation and taking it even further to consumer acceptance,” said panelist Rob Aukerman, President of US/Canada Operations at Elanco Animal Health. “We’re very good at the science … the productivity story is incredible. But today we have so many consumers that are far removed from agriculture, that do not understand where their food comes from, and we have to enter into more of a conversation with the consumer to have the social license to move ahead to employ the technologies we need to feed the world.”
While the cost of putting a new product on the market for animal health or crop production is extraordinarily high due to the number of agencies involved, Aukerman believes a strong regulatory process is important for consumer confidence. “That’s one of the things that gives us license to move ahead,” he said. “We always are challenged to make that efficient as well and to make our investments pay off but there is great incentive to continue to invest because the need is great.”
Elanco’s product line includes antibacterials, anticoccidials, vaccines and parasiticides for both food and domestic animals, as well as a productivity enhancers, safety tools and analytical services. Even though they don’t directly produce food products or even animals, Aukerman says they consider themselves a food company. “Our vision of enriching lives through food has changed our company and has compelled us to be part of forums like this and dialogues throughout the entire food chain,” he added, noting that taking part in the World Food Prize events has “re-energized” him.
Listen to or download my conversation with Rob here: Interview with Elanco's Rob Aukerman
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