On August 13, 2015, the University of California, Davis and Acceligen will host the first Livestock Industry Conference on Genetics at the Granlibakken Resort in Lake Tahoe, California. Participants from the livestock value chain will meet to learn about new opportunities in addressing challenges confronting their industry through the application of emerging genetics technologies.
The one-day conference will feature some of the world’s preeminent thought leaders on genetics and animal agriculture, including representatives from the Roslin Institute, Recombinetics, J.R. Simplot, AquaBounty, Yum! Brands and Texas A&M University. The purpose of the event will be to provide an industry-specific, focused follow-up to the 10th Transgenic Animal Research Conference, hosted by UC Davis August 9th through 13th.
“The worlds of animal agriculture and genetics will have found themselves at a critical juncture,” said Mark Walton of Acceligen. “We have the ability to remedy many of the challenges facing the livestock industry today though techniques like precision breeding. However, we need to understand how these new technologies can be safely and efficiently integrated into our current practices. Convening this meeting is the first step in that process.”
Some of the issues to be discussed during the conference include the emergence of animal welfare as a significant consideration for a majority of consumers when making food-purchasing decisions. Additionally, a growing global middle class is driving demand for animal products; however, the growing demand for animal products adds pressure on the industry to reduce the environmental footprint of livestock production.
Livestock occupy almost 25 percent of the earth’s total land area and require one-third of the planet’s arable land to produce feed for those animals. While production of livestock and the feed for those animals is responsible for about 18 percent of global greenhouse emissions, advancement in animal genetics could greatly improve this impact.
“We will be looking to spark a real discussion about the benefits of genetics in the animal agriculture space as well as the barriers that this technology will face,” continued Walton. “This will be a first-of-its-kind opportunity to unite industry and science in one place. I am excited to see the results of this event.”