Sustainability the new buzz word in animal feed

Animal Nutrition Views

Dr. Ioannis Mavromichalis is an animal nutritionist holding graduate degrees from Kansas State University (MSc) and University of Illinois (PhD). He is the Principal of Ariston Nutrition Consulting International. He may be contacted at [email protected]. See all author stories and blogs.

Sustainability the new buzz word in animal feed

Yamuta I

The feed industry must come together to define this term and provide a set goal

Although many do not have a clear definition of this term, and equally as many have different views of what it actually means (to them), the animal feed industry is faced with another challenge that will become the new buzz word.

For me, sustainability means that I should do whatever I can to leave the planet in a state at least as I found it and, in the best-case scenario, in an even better state for the next generation. “Sustainability” comes from “sustain,” which comes down to the survival of humanity – in other words, do not press that red button on a personal level.

The feed industry, from high-end additive/micro-ingredient suppliers, feed premixers and feed manufacturers, including all suppliers to the above players, and even end-users (animal producers, processors, and even consumers) must come together to accomplish two simple tasks:

  1. Define for all what sustainability means for the animal feed industry.
  2. Provide all of us a set of goals and a roadmap so that we can proceed in unison.

I know this sounds simple, and yet lofty for a goal, when more pressing issues cannot be addressed (one has only to turn on the TV and watch the news), but we should not allow third parties to dictate these tasks to us. And, in my experience, this is usually what happens (i.e. antibiotics, zinc oxide, cage-free, slow-growing broilers, open-range welfare).

Sustainability and climate change go hand in hand, but few have grasped the connection. In my opinion, those being proactive will survive as a business, while those reacting will disappear – as always.

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it’s critical that the animal feed industry be proactive in the process of developing its set of standards related to sustainability and various metrics and communicate this throughout the value chain both upstream and downstream and to consumers.