Feedinfo Summit 2021

Cargill Animal Nutrition on Future of Industry and How It’s Addressing Key Challenges – INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Source: Cargill Animal Nutrition via Feedinfo

28 October 2021 – From African Swine Fever and Covid-19 to supply chain disruptions and sustainability concerns, the animal nutrition sector has had to adapt to a number of challenges in recent years. But, has this necessarily resulted in an industry that can survive anything that comes its way? And what could some of the future challenges be?

In this special Industry Perspectives inspired by today’s Feedinfo Summit Leaders Panel discussion on futureproofing the animal nutrition industry, we chat to panellist Adriano Marcon, the President of Cargill Animal Nutrition, on what he thinks the future of the sector could look like. We also dig deep into the various challenges he thinks industry decision makers should have in mind as they look to futureproof their businesses, and what Cargill Animal Nutrition itself is prioritising to ensure its future success.

[Feedinfo] What have you at Cargill Animal Nutrition identified as the biggest disruptor in animal nutrition today and how are you tackling it?


Adriano Marcon
Cargill Animal Nutrition

[Adriano Marcon] Animal diseases in general continue to be a threat, especially events like Avian Influenza (AI), Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) impacting the United States, and African Swine Fever (ASF), which is expanding with new outbreaks in the Americas.

AI is endemic in many parts of the world with a high incidence rate in Europe and Asia, having a strong impact on local and international poultry markets. PRRS had a material impact in US pork production in 2021, while ASF has changed the industry since the 2018 outbreak in China.

Our team in China, and in the region, have developed a 360-degree ASF prevention solution that not only focuses on nutrition and the acceleration of average daily gain, but also animal immune system improvements, farm management, feed sanitation and bio-security systems. So far, we have seen significantly less ASF reoccurrence among the customers who use this solution than the market average.

Education and awareness are also key; since the outbreak of ASF in Europe and Asia Pacific, Cargill has trained over 300K farmers on biosecurity. The short and long-term economic and social impacts from animal disease is recognised globally and we need to continue to look for ways in which we can slow or prevent diseases, such as ASF, which will help us address future demand.

[Feedinfo] What other issues do you have on your radar that you think will remain of significant importance to the animal nutrition industry going into the future?

[Adriano Marcon] Sustainability is the presenting theme of our time, with climate change being one of the most important sustainability challenges we are facing as an industry today.

A changing climate causes challenges for agriculture because it can lead to more extreme weather events, more frequent droughts, increasing temperature stress for livestock and more. Cargill has set aggressive, science-based goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our operations and supply chains that are in line with the Paris Climate agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. 

Our Cargill Animal Nutrition business plays an important role in helping our farmer-customers reduce the carbon intensity of animal protein production. We are looking at this challenge in a holistic manner: improving feed conversion rates, optimising animal health, and innovating new additives and nutrition solutions that reduce methane and nitrogen emissions. By improving feed conversion rates and by seeking zero nutrient waste with our nutrition technologies, we are helping producers do more with less. Producing more protein with less feed inputs is how livestock will contribute to helping cool the planet.

Changes to consumer perceptions around protein consumption and the rising use of alternative proteins for meat is another concerning topic for the animal nutrition industry. Demand for protein is expected to increase 70% by 2050.1 Traditional animal protein (beef, poultry, seafood, and eggs) will meet the rapidly rising demand for protein globally in the next 30 years. Keep in mind that animal-sourced foods provide 18% of global calories and 39% of protein intake.1 However, alternatives will play a role and we are watching this trend closely. Sustainably feeding a growing population means that we need a “both, and” approach that includes traditional models and new, innovative strategies.

Additionally, there are natural shifts in protein consumption – not all markets are the same. Meat consumption per capita will rise, driven by Asia, with pork, poultry and seafood growing the fastest.2 There is also the issue of income inequality, which has an impact on meat demand due to protein affordability. For example, Brazil beef consumption dropped 30.35% over the past 15 years with poultry consumption jumping 40% over that same time period due to the affordability of beef protein.  


[Feedinfo] Do you think the industry is sufficiently reactive in adapting to the various challenges it is facing today? Where do you see room for improvement to ensure it can survive?

[Adriano Marcon] The animal nutrition and livestock production industries have been slow to adopt digital technologies as a means of making better, faster, more informed decisions around improving productivity, animal well-being and sustainability. The future of agriculture depends on its digital transformation.

At Cargill we’re investing in partnerships outside of the traditional agriculture space with companies like Agriness, Cainthus and Intelia to bring new digital capabilities to our customers. Nutrition is core to our business - from selecting feed ingredients and suppliers, to designing and formulating diets, to managing feed mills and feed inventory, we understand what it takes to successfully deliver animal feed and nutrition. But our knowledge and expertise doesn’t stop there. We also understand how to use digital tools and capabilities to maximise animal production and performance through farm management, real-time monitoring and decision making. One of the most compelling cases is in technology and animal welfare. Today’s tools can signal specific needs of animals before any human eye could recognise an issue.

[Feedinfo] What about the future? What are the changes Cargill Animal Nutrition is implementing today to futureproof its business for the next 20+ years?

[Adriano Marcon] We launched our 2025 strategy last year and our focus was on building our systems and capabilities and structuring our organisation to enable growth that we anticipate will double the size of our business by 2025. Our focus now is on growth and delivering the outcomes our customers want most: performance, health and well-being, and sustainability.

Innovating what matters is a key priority. At Cargill Animal Nutrition we are investing significantly in strengthening our people’s capabilities in innovation methodologies and in our R&D systems to stay at the forefront of the industry. We also continue to look outside and across Cargill for ideas and collaborations that strengthen our innovation pipeline. Technology and digitalisation are key priorities, and we are finding innovative ways to reach our customers digitally. Our smart manufacturing capabilities and investments, as well as our innovations around data, AI, and Internet of Things, are helping our customers win in an increasingly digital world.

COVID-19 has reaffirmed our focus on innovation and customer intimacy, where we have found more creative ways to support and partner with customers through digital engagements, webinars, product launches, podcasts, and virtual roundtables. Through webinars used for training and product launches, we are able to leverage our global expertise and talented team in Cargill Animal Nutrition to maximise what we deliver to customers in an easy, agile, timely manner.

Being futureproof also requires organisational humility; acknowledging what you do well and where you can accelerate your capabilities through others. That is what drives our new partnerships, like the recently announced collaboration with BASF on enzymes, Fuite on premix manufacturing in the Netherlands, and our digital partnerships just to name a few. I believe in networked-based competition where companies form a coalition to strengthen each other’s value proposition to their customers.

I also think that when it comes to talent, the agriculture industry has faced a limited employee pool – pre-COVID and especially now. We need to highlight the benefits and opportunities of working in agriculture and the animal nutrition and health industry that may not be readily apparent to those not familiar with it. In animal nutrition, there are careers around innovation, digitalisation, sustainability and the opportunity to help animals and humans live better lives. We are always looking for new talent that brings diverse perspectives from a broad range of backgrounds and are committed to having a culture where everyone can bring their best to work. Additionally, we have created a new technical excellence program named Alaatus to engage, develop, and retain our top technical leaders while cultivating and empowering a pipeline of talent. At Cargill, we are a diverse group of individuals working to help our customers succeed, our teammates to have a fulfilling work experience and to be the leader in nourishing the world.


Published in association with Cargill Animal Nutrition


1 UN Food and Agricultural Organisation
2 OECD: https://data.oecd.org/agroutput/meat-consumption.htm