Support, learn, and collaborate. Three words JJ Jones, Executive Director for the National Institute of Animal Agriculture used to describe the overall mission of NIAA in a recent AGI SureTrack CoffeeTalk.
“We work to bring leaders from animal agriculture together to explore, discuss, learn and collaborate around issues facing the future of the value supply chain in animal agriculture, as part of today’s food system,” Jones says, sharing the organization continues to be a place to discuss hosts of issues faced within the animal sector of the food system.
As NIAA works to understand key issues, the team has recently developed the “One Health” approach to connect humans, livestock and the environment people we in.
“After recognizing that antimicrobial was a key issue in stewardship and resistance, NIAA has been looking through a one health lens at social sustainability, environmental impact and economic sustainability as a key component of their mission,” Jones says.
It is undeniable that technology and innovation is a common denominator of modern agriculture and food safety.
“Often you may have heard from gate to plate, farm to fork, or ranch to rail,” Jones says, adding this concept has been a significant investment throughout the value chain by both private and venture capital groups.
The NIAA continues work to evolve a food system that meets the needs of a growing population, while also remaining more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Jones says the industry has seen significant growth over the last three years in dollars invested in food and ag technologies, but the main funding is still focused on new product development, food safety and food security innovations.
Technology indefinitely plays a large role in each sector of the agriculture industry. However, Jones says it is important for all aspects of the value chain to learn and grow together.
“I would almost propose that today the shift is not that animal agriculture’s competitor is the various species or animal ag proteins, but it’s the alternative proteins, Jones says. “Through innovation and technology, consumers have a lot more choices when they go to the grocery store or restaurant.”
Jones says it is not only is it viable for consumers to know products derived from animal agriculture are a great source of protein, but also adds that the industry needs to demonstrate they are affordable, environmentally friendly and provide social responsibly.
As a mission driven organization, NIAA plans to continue their focus on increased investment for greater innovation and technology within animal agriculture into 2022.
“We’re going to need all types of animal derived protein whether that’s by species, size, operation business model or whatever the case may be,” Jones says, adding the importance in informing consumers that animal derived protein is still the preferred protein.
As NIAA begins to understand the need for animal agriculture working together more collectively, the team and board of directors are launching an advanced leadership program that will begin in early 2022.
“The new program will bring together 20 leaders from across the animal agriculture sector, who will participate in a 16-to-18-month program with both in person and virtual training,” Jones says, sharing the topics include critical thinking, professional development, communication and leadership; all of which are beneficial real-world examples.
“Animal agriculture has a great story to tell and a great product to provide,” Jones says, sharing the need to tell the story to ensure that animal agriculture derived protein continues to be the protein of choice for customers.
To learn more about National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA)’s mission, programs, events, or resources and trainings, visit animalagriculture.org.
To see this CoffeeTalk in action, visit the AGI Community news page.