Novus International, Inc. hosted an Egg and Ag Industry Roundtable and Sustainability Egg Summit at their corporate headquarters on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. Participants included leaders throughout the international egg industry, academia, producers and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who are working to establish benchmarking for sustainability.
Novus actively seeks collaborative relationships when the combined resources and partners may effectively solve a particular challenge. The purpose of the Egg Summit was to provide a neutral forum for discussion and to forge new connections that will help provide for ongoing dialogue. A key goal for the event was to strengthen the partnerships between participants.
Speakers for the Egg Summit included Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Specialist in Cooperative Extension at the University of California, Davis; Dr. Vincent Guyonnet, Scientific Advisor for the International Egg Commission (IEC); Dr. Hongwei Xin, Director of the Egg Industry Center and Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Animal Science at Iowa State University; and Frank Pace, founder of Pace Farm, a world-class egg production organization in Australia.
Dr. Frank Mitloehner provided the group with an update on sustainability and benchmarking activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). "The FAO-led benchmarking partnership was established to help determine methodologies for measuring the environmental impact of the livestock industry," noted Dr. Mitloehner. "It is very important to harmonize the way we assess emissions to enable a fair quantification that can help us to reduce environmental impact."
In addition to his role with the IEC, Dr. Guyonnet serves on the steering committee for the FAO-led Partnership. He brings both academic credibility and real-world knowledge to the group, as he's also a veterinarian for Burnbrae Farms in Canada. Dr. Guyonnet stated, "We see the partnership as the beginning of a journey to identify ways to mitigate the impact of poultry on the environment. We look forward to identifying management and feeding practices that have a positive impact on the environment."
Dr. Hongwei Xin commented, "The egg industry has reduced its carbon footprint by 50% since the sixties." He stressed the importance of companies to think globally and act locally, a philosophy that is embraced and practiced by Novus. "Feed efficiency will be key to achieving sustainability goals," he added.
During a roundtable discussion, attendees talked about producer perspectives regarding sustainability and meeting the growing demand for food worldwide. With the world population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, producers are well aware of the challenges ahead. While it's agreed that the U.S. and other countries have the technology to increase food production, producers will need to strike a balancing act as they strive to meet this demand while using the same or fewer resources.
Participants agreed that the Sustainability Egg Summit provided a much appreciated collaborative environment to address critical issues facing agriculture. Frank Pace noted, "If we're going to change the world, we need to have one voice that unites the egg industry. The IEC does that."