By BOB RIGGS
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Within the ranks of National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) membership are various producers, veterinarians, scientists and educators, government employees and allied industries with an interest in U.S. animal agriculture.
The NIAA’s purpose is to coordinate and promote industry programs and materials that help animal at professionals address emerging and current issues. The group will meet on April 15-17 in Louisville for its annual convention.
This year the NIAA forum will be about “Animal Agriculture’s Vision to Feed the World” and will focus on merging values with technology. Teres Lambert, NIAA communication specialist, believes unity is its strength.
“What is interesting about the NIAA,” she said, “is the fact that it includes all species. For instance, the cattlemen’s organization is all about promoting beef. The pork industry is about promoting pork, and poultry is all about poultry.
“We have government, we have extension specialists, we have producers and we have allied industry people who can talk among themselves and learn from one another.”
This year Dr. Robert Fourdraine of Agsource Cooperative Solutions is co-chair of the conference.
“The big thing to me about this meeting is that it is the third year in a row where we have talked about ‘What is our challenge?’” Fourdraine said.
According to him, the current challenge is the livestock industry finding ways to increase production in a manner the consumer will accept.
Further, Fourdraine said, “The numbers say we will have to double food production by 2050; however, we also have to deal with the fact that we will have less land to do this with. Therefore, this meeting will focus on some promising technologies that will allow us to bridge the gap with how we do things today and how we will produce food in 2050.”
He added the key is that the industry must consider consumer concern as it pushes the envelope on the amount of food it can produce.
Fourdraine believes science and technology are not only for large farms. “You know technology is not the evil thing that people sometimes make it out to be,” he said. “It can actually be a solution to improving animal well-being and staying viable financially for both small- and large-scale operations.”
A daylong optional Kentucky Ag Tour will leave from the conference venue at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville on April 15. First stop will be the Alltech Center for Nutrigenomics & Applied Animal Nutrition Research Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.
The next stop will be the Three Chimneys Thoroughbred Farm in Midway. The final tour stop will be the University of Kentucky’s 1,500-acre Animal Research Center in Woodford County.
That Tuesday and Wednesday speakers will discuss innovative technologies that could advance food production, and various issues tied to food production. Topics will include meeting the demand for food through technology and knowledge; using technology and values to tackle catastrophic disease events and natural disasters; and translating and communicating advancements in agriculture to consumers.
Following the close of the regular NIAA conference there will be a special Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Symposium for those who wish to attend. Reservations can be made online or by calling 800-THE-GALT (843-4258); advise the reservations agent you are with the NIAA.
For more details, visit www.animalagriculture.org