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Alltech examines global future of food

By Larry Dreiling

Envisioning the global food needs of 2050 was the topic of the 28th annual Alltech International Symposium held recently at Lexington, Ky.

Karl Dawson, Ph.D., Alltech's vice president and chief scientific officer, led a discussion on the science of what he and other Alltech scientists call nutrigenomics and how applications in genetics in the agriculture industry is responsible for most of the developments in the feed industry.

Dawson also discussed epigenetics, or how genes react to the environment, and how new findings in this area shed light on the complex interplay of nutrition and development.

Alltech's founder, Pearse Lyons, Ph.D., discussed the nine initiatives that will help shape Alltech's future.

Perhaps the leading initiative Lyons announced was the creation of the Alltech Crop Science division.

"We need more crops from a finite amount of land," Lyons said. "Alltech Crop Sciences aims to boost productivity and breed healthier plants." The aim of the division, sensing that natural nutrition is not just for the animals anymore, is seen as taking its technology out of the barn and into the field with a lines for industrial and consumer use.

The Alltech Crop Science line is designed to offer a viable alternative to conventional agricultural chemicals through yeast based products for production of what the company calls "citrus to silage and everything in between."

"Consumers are increasingly discerning in their food choices, and are asking for more natural products. As a result, some traditional methods of production have become obsolete as more and more chemicals are being banned on a global scale," said Geoff Frank, CEO of Alltech Crop Science.

"As producers are looking for alternatives, our technology is integral to propelling the industry into the future."

Hundreds of active ingredients in use for crop protection have been de-listed by governments around the world with more on the verge of prohibition, leaving farmers with fewer options for disease resistance and production potential.

Alltech officials see this as a catalyst for the swift growth of the biological crop protection sector, bringing non-traditional control methods to the forefront of agricultural production.

"For nearly 20 years Alltech Crop Science, formerly known as Improcrop, has conducted research on 69 cultivars in 29 countries to form the scientific basis for its products. Their North American brand portfolio--Agro-Mos, Compost-Aid, Complex-Aid, Crop-Set, Grain-Set, Soil-Set and Liqui-Plex Mn--addresses each stage of crop development, providing plants with precision nutrition and offering growers a naturally based alternative to chemicals," a company release said.

Alltech Crop Science's consumer line, endorsed by celebrity garden designer Jon Carloftis, includes Bloom & Fruit provides nutrients that stimulate plant growth while Soil & Root conditions the rhizophere region of the soil.

Other Alltech initiatives announced--with quotes by the energetic Lyons, included:

--The development of an Alltech Academy for current staff. "We need advanced education for professionals," Lyons said. "Advanced poultry nutrition, advanced equine nutrition, crisis marketing, brewing, learning never stops."

--Expansion of Lyons Farm Foods. "Agriculture needs branding so that consumers know that they are getting a premium product, that's what the Lyons Farm range of foods will try to achieve."

--Expansion of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. "Bourbon Barrel Ale is global. In the next few months we are launching Alltech's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in Ireland."

--Development of Ecologae supplements. "It's important that if we replace fish oil, we replace it with a sustainable, traceable and adaptable alternative. This is one of the many exciting applications for Alltech's algae program."

--Sponsorship of the Alltech FEI Word Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, France. "Alltech is honored to be the title sponsor of the biggest equestrian event in the world."

--Further facility investment. "Our business relies on strong global collaboration and research. As part of our growth strategy we continue to invest in our offices and bioscience centers around the world."

--New feeds for equine and pet. "Alltech is exploring the idea of pet and equine products for the end user."

--Alltech Graduate Program. "Alltech has launched a global graduate program to attract new talent of future business leaders and entrepreneurs to Alltech. We want to identify and nurture the future leaders and this is how we will find them."

Larry Dreiling can be reached by phone at 785-628-1117, or by email at ldreiling@aol.com.

Date: 10/8/2012



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