VikingAcademy – Sustainable Genetics for the Future 

The 5th VikingAcademy was held in Tuusula, Finland 23.-25.9.2019. This is a bi-annual event held for our distributors around the world and this time we had participants from 14 different countries. The topic for the conference was “Sustainable Genetics for The Future”. 
Download a PDF of the group image here. 
The focus on the first day was on what will be the future needs from the dairy industry from the consumer point of view and from a political point of view, and what we can do about this from a technical perspective in cattle breeding.
Poul Bank Pettersson, Member Service Manager in Denmark at Arla Foods, explained that consumer focus will be the carbon footprint and consumers will direct their purchases to companies taking measures on reducing the carbon footprint. This will put pressure on the dairy industry as cows produce methane and the dairy industry is widely blamed for not being a sustainable and ecological way to produce food. 
Poul Bank Pettersson from Arla
Jan Lassen, our Project Manager in R&D, held a presentation about our latest innovation – Saved Feed Index. This index will help to breed more eco-friendly cows, as the most efficient cows are smaller in stature, need less feed but produce high yield of milk. We are currently working on research on lowering the methane emissions from cows and hoping to reveal an index for that too in the near future. VikingGenetics is breeding towards lower carbon footprint for the dairy industry to be able to answer the demands of the world markets.
Many wonderful presentations during the conference given by our own VikingGenetics employees as well as guest speakers and distributors. 
Esben Tranholm Nielsen, Chief policy advisor at the Danish agriculture and food council, explained about how different organisations work towards having a climate neutral food production by 2050. The biggest challenge is to produce food for the growing population in a sustainable way. The dairy industry is an important part of the solution and we strive to see this as a great business opportunity. 
Esben Tranholm Nielsen from Danish Agriculture and Food Council
Gustavelund, where the conference was held, is a beautifully situated hotel on a lakeshore. There are over 200,000 lakes in Finland! On Tuesday evening we were rowing together in old “Church boats”. The boats are big rowing boats that can have 14 people rowing together. A great adventure, showing the importance of everyone working together for the same goal. Everyone is an important part of the whole, and only working together in unison will bring results! The day ended with a barbeque dinner and everyone singing the amazing NTM-song. 
The rowing was a fun experience and taught us a lot of teamwork
The second day of the conference was more product-focused. VikingGenetics breeding programme developments were presented and there were a lot of lively discussions among the participants. There were lots of good talking points raised from the different markets around the world.
There were many fruitful group work sessions during the VikingAcademy  and lively discussions about the dairy industry issues. 
VikingAcademy is a vital meeting point for us to talk to our distributors and understand better the challenges they are facing in their everyday job. VikingAcademy is all about sharing, learning and developing things together. We are very proud to host such an amazing group of people from all over the world! 

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