Turning agricultural challenges into global opportunities
Alltech ONE World Tour kicks off in Budapest with a focus on resilience and sustainability
Nourishing the world and preserving the planet is a huge responsibility — and opportunity — for agriculture.
As the agri-food community endeavors to create a healthy and sustainable food system, it is challenged by geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainties, changing consumer trends and, of course, climate change. But these obstacles also represent a global opportunity for agriculture to tap into its history of innovation and science to find collaborative solutions that will keep the industry at the forefront of change.
This exciting potential to shape the future was explored in-depth this week when hundreds of European agri-food leaders helped kick off the first-ever Alltech ONE World Tour in Budapest, Hungary. The event offered opportunities to engage with leading experts on global, regional and local market trends in agriculture, business, health and nutrition.
Alltech ONE Budapest emphasized the vital role of Central European agriculture producers in addressing climate and food-supply challenges around the world and highlighted the importance of collaboration and innovation in the pursuit of sustainable solutions.
Geopolitical conflict in the region has caused supply-chain disruptions and rising energy and food costs. Amid these uncertainties, the region’s abundant land and strong agricultural heritage are sparks of hope that can ignite and transform the agri-food community, said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, in his opening keynote address.
“This is a time of not just peril, but of potential. Central Europe is going to play an outsized role in the future of this challenge — of making sure that we can provide enough food for our growing populations." —Dr. Mark Lyons, Alltech President and CEO
Because of its agricultural connectivity, Central Europe has the potential to chart its own course to a sustainable and profitable agricultural system. There is also a great capacity for agricultural integration, as well as export opportunities that do not exist in many other geographies.
The region’s agri-food industry could also leverage regulatory pressure to develop innovative solutions for carbon capture crediting and other sustainability measures, Lyons said.
“These opportunities are exciting, and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to kick off our Alltech ONE World Tour here,” he continued.
The annual Alltech ONE Conference has been held in Lexington, Ky., home of Alltech’s global headquarters, for nearly 40 years. In 2023, however, Alltech is bringing the ideas and inspiration of the conference to its customers and partners around the world.
A holistic approach
Alltech believes agriculture has the greatest potential to positively shape the future of our planet. In 2019, it announced its purpose of Working Together for a Planet of Plenty™ and its vision of creating a world of abundance where people, animals and plants can flourish.
Alltech’s Planet of Plenty purpose has fueled its growth, Lyons said. Since the beginning of 2023, it has announced three new acquisitions that are strategically focused on developing and enhancing microbiological capabilities, strengthening Alltech’s sustainability promises and further developing the aquaculture industry.
In the past decade, Alltech has acquired 25 companies. This acquisition strategy has transformed Alltech’s business and allowed it to connect on more and deeper levels with its customers, Lyons said. Alltech produces specialty ingredients, premix supplements, feed and biologicals and offers a platform of services that includes on-farm support, mycotoxin mitigation, ingredient certifications, environmental analyses, feed-ration analyses, consultations and more.
Alltech is the only global partner with expertise from the ground up. From soil to crops and from animal nutrition to analytics and services, the company shares a holistic view of entire ecosystems. Its acquisition of Ideagro, a leader in agri-food research and development, added 20 microbiologists to its team and expanded its understanding of soil health and the impact of the microbiome on soils and in animals.
“We’re leveraging the capabilities that Alltech has as we serve 120 different countries, and we’re doubling down on how to connect what we’re doing in the soil to the crop to the animal and using analytics to bring things full-cycle,” Lyons said. “This is the future of agriculture. It’s a holistic view of the challenges we face.”
This holistic view is crucial to creating sustainability solutions, he continued.
“This is an interconnected system, and when we think about greenhouse gas emissions, we must also think about carbon capture, which is a tremendous opportunity for our industry to play a huge role in reducing climate change. And it's this type of science that is going to be the key to overcoming that challenge,” Lyons said.
Nutrition also plays a vital role in sustainability. Food is the single-strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth, the EAT-Lancet Commission said in 2019. In fact, if the agriculture industry focused on feed and growth efficiency strategies and carbon sequestration management strategies on grazed lands, it could reduce greenhouse gases by over 50%.
“We can reverse the negative impacts of agriculture and generate planet-positive benefits for people, animals, crops, and land, air and water,” Lyons said.
Alltech has always been committed to seeking the safety and well-being of the animal, consumer and environment — as outlined in the company’s ACE principle, the precursor to its Planet of Plenty purpose. In our pursuit of restoring the environment, we cannot lose sight of the importance of protecting human and animal nutrition, Lyons explained.
While sustainability challenges can vary slightly from region to region, the goal of improving plant and animal performance while reducing the environmental impact is a central theme.
Alltech has pioneered many technologies that improve performance, productivity and profitability and promote sustainability. Its recent majority interest acquisition of Agolin, for example, presents exciting sustainability benefits for producers, as well as improvements in milk production and feed efficiency. Technologies that boost performance and sustainability outcomes will be most successful in the industry, Lyons said.
The science of sustainability
Alltech’s researchers are creating leading-edge solutions that harness the power of science to nourish people and the planet. From reducing antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving soil health and more, its scientists are seeking answers to some of the biggest questions facing the agriculture industry and the world.
Alltech is making advancements in the global fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the largest and most urgent threats to global health, food security and socioeconomic development today. Alltech’s scientists have been able to create microbes that are more sensitive to antibiotics — an exciting development in the quest to reverse antimicrobial resistance and its effects.
“This can help reduce resistance but also enhance food safety,” Lyons said.
Alltech researchers are also creating solutions to remediate water and soil pollution caused by nutrient excretion.
“We want to be thinking of this as one system,” Lyons explained. “We want to be thinking about how, ultimately, the future of farming won't just be the production of meat, milk and eggs. It will also be energy production. It will also be carbon capture. And this is already happening here in Central Europe.”
Alltech has also gained a new understanding of the carbon cycle of grazing cattle, thanks to the company’s research at Buck Island Ranch in Florida. The work being done there has shown that, contrary to the popular narrative, we can capture more carbon with cows grazing the land than we can without them.
“Our animals will help us overcome the sustainability challenge. We can capture the carbon that we want to,” Lyons said. “This will allow us to produce more efficiently, improve profitability and help us answer the sustainability challenge to deliver on our promise and commitment to our Planet of Plenty purpose.”
The next stop on the Alltech ONE World Tour is in Ireland. Alltech ONE Dublin, set for June 19–20 at Croke Park Stadium, will focus on the “4 Cs” impacting global agriculture: climate, conflict, consumer and cost. Additional stops are planned in Calgary, Canada, as well as the United States, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Learn more at one.alltech.com.