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Horizons in Livestock Sciences conference:

Horizons in Livestock Sciences conference: ‘Future of agriculture – value or volume?’ call for registrations

22 May 2008

Registration has opened for Australasia’s major science and agribusiness conference, to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, 28-30 October 2008.

The fifth in the Horizons in Livestock Sciences conference series will be hosted by Australia’s CSIRO Livestock industries and New Zealand’s largest Crown Research Institute, AgResearch.

Expected to generate strong debate on the future directions for Trans-Tasman animal industries the series will address the increasingly contentious issue of “The future of agriculture: Value or Volume?”

According to AgResearch’s Chief Executive, Dr Andrew West, if the world is to maintain the same effective level of food supply in 2050 as there was in 2000, there will need to be a 50% improvement in the world’s agricultural productivity.

“While this doesn’t seem like such a big ask, given that there has been a 400% increase in food produced per hectare over the last 100 years, there are several complicating factors that will make this achievement much more challenging than it might appear,” he says.

“One factor will be the stress that all human activity, including agriculture, puts on the environment.  We must not only increase the volume of food production to feed the world’s human population that will increase by 3 billion in the next 60 years, but we must also do it in ways that substantially reduce the impact of producing food on our environment.

“At the same time, if food production is to continue to make a significant contribution to the Australian and New Zealand economies, we need to also produce food and textile products that wealthy customers around the world are willing to pay premium prices for.”

Dr West asserts there is an argument that sustainably high returns can only be generated from products that are particularly valuable to customers, incorporate elements that are scarce, and have attributes that are difficult for competitors to imitate.

“While some of our current food products have these characteristics, many do not and there are calls for a transition to producing higher-value foods and textiles than we do at present. The Fast Forward Fund is but one such call.

“Our conference will attempt to address the key question – should our agricultural sectors’ future emphases be on value or on volume?”

You can register on-line by visiting www.livestockhorizons.com  where you will also find full details about the program, speakers and associated social events.  The Horizons Conference places a strong focus on student participation, with discounted registration and a prize for the best student Poster.

ends

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