Pre-Summit Interview for World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit
Partner at Culterra Capital; Venture Partner at Better Food Ventures
Turlock, California, United States
INTERVIEWED: Federico Mayer
(AgTech Insight Advisor, CEO and Founder of Club AgTech
Pre-Summit Interviews for Animal AgTech Summit with AgTech Insight Advisors
Vice President, Renewable & Bio Products at Smithfield Foods based in Smithfield, Virginia.
INTERVIEWED: Johanna Ballesteros
(AgTech Insight Advisor, JBAgro Co-Founder, Ag Tech,AnimalProduction, EngormixCo-Founder, JBAgro-International Greenville, South Carolina, USA)
1. Brief summary of the topic you will present at the Summit.
As part of a panel, I will be discussing innovations in Agtech that impact not only the animals but also the human consumers or food and medicines as well.
2. Smithfield harvest materials for medical use from hogs. What is the real potential in the area of human medicine from pig by-products?
The real potential has not yet been calculated, but the number of innovations and amount of research being conducted in this space is so broad that it is clear we are just scratching the surface. The abundance of pigs (used primarily for food today) and their similarities to humans make them an attractive option for pharmaceutical, wound care, and regenerative medicine applications. To the extent we can continue to utilize the by-products from the food production process as a resource for these finished medical applications, the more we will be doing to improve human health and wellness, manage costs and access throughout the medical supply chain that result from the current scale of production, and be responsible stewards of our environment.
3. What is the strategy implemented to achieve Smithfield's goal by 2025 of a 25% reduction of GHG emissions, does this include carbon emission credits?
The GHG emission reduction is directly tied to better utilizing the methane gases that result from growing pigs for food consumption. By proactively capturing these gases, we take a leadership position in the industry to improve our sustainability efforts and utilize yet another byproduct of our significant production scale.
4. What are you excited about Smithfield's future?
Smithfield has truly taken a leadership position in the Agtech innovation space. Both our partnerships with energy companies to capture Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from our farms nationwide, as well as our venture into the BioScience arena have been truly groundbreaking for the industry. Our ability to leverage our uniquely integrated supply chain -- beginning from the farm all the way to the harvest facility – is unmatched and we can bring greater insights, capabilities and security to a food supply chain that is now expanding into Renewable Products and Human Health and Wellness. I cannot think of a more important and exciting time for Smithfield to be taking these important industry and societal leaps that I believe will transform the agricultural sector forever. As leaders in the agricultural industry, it is our responsibility to create big, positive change -- and we are doing just that!
Andre van Troost | CEO
Lely Holding B.V. | Cornelis van der Lelylaan 1 | 3147 PB | Maassluis | The Netherlands
INTERVIEWED: Jeffrey Bewley
How do you define sustainability?
In the next decades, the agricultural sector is facing the challenge to feed a growing world population in a responsible manner, by using the same amount of land and water. Our goal is to make dairy farming even more sustainable then it already is today, to reduce emissions and to create a circular dairy farm where possible. All that, whilst not harming the profitability of the farmer!
2. How has Covid-19 changed the landscape for technology adoption in animal agriculture?
Time will tell, I find it too early to comment for now.
3. How will data and analytics reshape the future of global agriculture?
Data is changing the scope and organization of farming. Global issues such as food security and safety, animal welfare, sustainability and efficiency improvements are all addressed by data applications. Therefore the scope of data applications extends far beyond the farm alone, and increasingly will cover the entire supply chain. The entire agricultural sector, food suppliers and end consumers will benefit from this!
4. How do changes in population demographics change the need for more automation within agriculture?
We see a rapid increase in the uptake of automation. A new generation of farmers with better (IT/Data minded) education, who have a bigger wish for social time, who are less happy with repetitive work, who prefer to spend time on specific animals that need attention as opposed to the whole herd. And we see fewer people who will want to work in the agricultural industry in the future. This will all help the adoption of automation.
5. What are the biggest challenges for adoption of technologies on farms?
The older generation farmer is sometimes less open to new (often data driven)technologies. Also the adoption of automation will sometimes feel to the farmer like his core work is removed. Being on call 24 hours a day to alarms is sometimes also used as a challenge. But overall there are not that many challenges.
6. Often, technologies are ahead of what farmers are ready to adopt. How do we help fill this gap?
Clear, fact based education and explanation is essential. As is the usage of customers who are early adopters, they need to be asked to assist and become an ambassador of new technologies. Lely has a great deal to thank the early adopter farmer for, they were always willing to try out new technologies.