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Farmers of the future are faced with many challenge. Precision farming can offer solutions and future perspective.

According to professor Louise Fresco farmers face more challenges than ever before. Fresco shared her thoughts on the future of farming as a key note speaker at the annual event of AnimalhealthEurope.

Focus

AnimalhealthEurope’s annual event focused this year on the next generation of Europe’s livestock farmers and their needs when it comes to meeting the multitude of demands set out in the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.

Professor Louise Fresco is president of the executive board for Wageningen University and Research. She set the scene sharing her thoughts on the future of Generation Z livestock farmers. “These farmers are faced with more challenges than ever before”, Fresco stated. “They are confronted with a more critical consumer base. On the other hand young farmers can look to the many new tools and opportunities on the horizon. This will contribute to invent new ways of farming to meet with demands”, according to Fresco

Precision farming

What is driving improved animal health and welfare practices? Panellists including young livestock farmers Kerli Ats from Estonia and Alexander Bernhuber from Austria responded to this question. Bernhuber is also a member of the European Parliament. Both panellists expressed their views on Precision Livestock Farming techniques and the new digital tools coming to the fore in animal health.

Often these advances are welcomed by livestock farmers, but not every farm has the means and opportunities to implement them. “Perhaps this offers an opening for EU policies to take a more supporting role in terms of finance and knowledge transfer to ensure a viable future for young farmers”, according to the farmers.

Priorities

“The animal health industry believes that working directly with livestock farmers and veterinarians is the best way to understand current and future needs”, according to Roxanne Feller. She is Secretary General at AnimalHealthEurope. “This helps industry to set priorities for research and development.”

The livestock sector moves into an era of digitally enhanced farming that co-exists with nature-positive solutions, signals Feller. “We’re therefore focusing our efforts into innovations that help improve the health and welfare of animals, reduce environmental impacts and ensure better traceability. Doing this while improving farm management efficiencies and productivity.”

Future

Feller says it is the hope of AnimalHealthEurope that EU policies affecting the next generation of Europe’s livestock farmers will foresee adequate support and training. “So that their future in farming is both a secure and bright one.”

Also read: Sustainability in European animal farming debated

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