Wednesday, 11 November 2015 13:57

Future farming food for thought

Written by 
Professor of Physiology at Maastricht University and creator of the first stem cell hamburger, Mark Post. Professor of Physiology at Maastricht University and creator of the first stem cell hamburger, Mark Post.

About 200 agribusiness leaders attended a thought-provoking TEDx-styled event which promised to challenge traditional thinking about the future of farming in New Zealand.

The 'Beyond the Line of Sight: Farming & the Future of Food' in Auckland was presented by dairy and livestock solutions company Tru-Test Group in partnership with Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Speakers focussed on current international trends and emerging technologies which are set to have potentially destabilising implications for our primary and food systems.

Tru-Test Group chief executive Greg Muir says it has a vested interest in seeing the greater agribusiness sector prosper.

"We were founded 50 years ago on industry-changing innovation and preparing for change is critical to business success.

"We must acknowledge the fast-changing rules of doing business and anticipate dynamic shifts in our traditional value chains."

Muir hopes the event has challenged and opened minds to consider and prepare for a fundamentally different future.

New technologies such as ag-robotics, IoT sensing solutions, synthetic milk and cultured beef will present both real opportunities and potential threats to New Zealand's primary industry. Callaghan Innovation's national technology network manager for sensing technologies Andrew Dawson says we are well placed to capitalise on our size, distance and unique point of view.

"Disruptive change is being driven from outside traditional sectors, so staying alert to the drivers of change and looking outward will be vital. In our favour, New Zealanders have a naturally-developed sense of observation, and big is no longer better so smaller countries and companies can be more agile and responsive to dynamic change."

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