Conference will mark AFBI's decade of innovation in agri-food sector

Dr Sinclair Mayne, chief executive of AFBI, and assistant scientific officer Kelly-Anne Carnaghan look forward to the international science outlook conference

THE Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is marking a decade of leading local innovation and research for the agri-food industry with a major conference which promises to map out the major challenges and technologies that will shape the agri-food industry of the future.

With an international panel led by Professor Ian Yule of Massey University in New Zealand, the ‘AFBI Science - Shaping Livestock Farming for 2030' conference will highlight next generation technologies, new research and practices, and the post-Brexit economic landscape.

The Institute is bringing together more than 250 international and local stakeholders for the all-day conference which takes place at the Dunadry Hotel on Tuesday March 28 and is entitled ‘AFBI Science: Shaping Livestock Farming for 2030'.

Other international experts due to attend include Dr Theun Vellinga of Wageningen University in the Netherlands; Joe O'Flaherty, chief executive of Animal Health Ireland; and Tim Bennett, deputy chair of the Food Standards Agency Board and chairman of the UK Centre of Innovation & Excellence in Livestock (CIEL).

AFBI speakers include Professor Robin Skuce, Dr Debbie McConnell, Dr Conrad Ferris, and Professor John Davis. Full details at

On the agenda are presentations on sustainable intensification – lessons from the Dutch dairy industry; improving animal health through a collaborative approach between industry and government and the role of molecular biotechnology and mathematical modelling in disease control; application of new technologies in grassland farming – experience from New Zealand and Northern Ireland; and the implications of Brexit for the UK agri-food sector.

Dr Sinclair Mayne, chief executive of AFBI, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to highlight some of the major impacts of our research to date and also to showcase how recent developments in science will have a significant impact on the local and global agri-food sector.

“The conference is a milestone event for AFBI as part of our vision of using scientific excellence to advance the local and global agri-food sectors. I encourage anyone with an interest in the agri-food sector to attend and gain insight into the latest technological developments and scientific advances that will shape the future of livestock farming.”

Established on April 1 2006, AFBI is a multi-disciplinary scientific institute offering world-class scientific services to a wide range of customers in the agri-food sector. It continues to build its collaborative research interests nationally, across the EU and in territories further afield such as China and North America.

It is also a major partner in the UK Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock, one of a core of world-class research institutes delivering leading global livestock production and product quality research

In the last 10 years AFBI researchers have provided the scientific evidence for annual EU fish quota negotiations, the development of Marine Conservation Zones, and Northern Ireland's successful applications for derogations from the Nitrates Directive.

It has also provided innovative online carcase benchmarking tools for improving the profitability and competitiveness of cattle, sheep and pig production.

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