Virtual Animal AgTech Innovation Summit held on 14 September

09-09-2020 | | |
Photo: Tate Slyfield, Rethink Events
Photo: Tate Slyfield, Rethink Events

Previously held in San Francisco and Amsterdam, this year’s Animal AgTech Innovation Summit will be held online on 14 September.

10 up-and-coming international animal agtech start-ups will pitch their innovative technologies in Start-Up Showcases, which will take place within 4 themed tracks: Precision Livestock Farming, Aquaculture, Animal Health, and the Microbiome & Feed. The summit brings together 400 animal agtech leaders for an action-packed day of 1-1 video networking, live panels and small roundtable discussions, allowing them to connect and share their insights.

By asking how animal health, nutrition and precision farming are emerging from the current crisis, the summit taps into the main questions that have kept professionals in the animal agriculture industry on their toes. Furthermore, the summit focuses on how a more connected future could be created for the livestock industry, a question which has never been more topical, especially in times of Covid-19.

However, in addition to these challenges, the crisis has forced significant learnings too. “The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies, from on-farm automation to the urgent need for greater traceability throughout the supply chain to reassure consumers and build trust. These issues will be explored in our Precision Livestock Farming track discussion ‘The Future of On-Farm Systems and Solutions’,” Shelbie Walker, Conference Producer of the Animal AgTech Innovation Summit tells Poultry World.

“Shared challenges give us the opportunity to regroup and come together, identifying the technologies and collaboration approaches necessary to improve livelihoods, profitability, and sustainability,” Walker continues, adding that “A holistic approach is needed to ensure biosecurity, a ‘One Health’ approach which recognises the interconnectedness between people, animals and the planet, and advocates for the wellness and sustainability of all, to combat the emergence of future zoonotic disease.” Leaders who work to alleviate these challenges every day will take the stage throughout the summit’s Animal Health track.

Shelbie Walker, Conference Producer: "Shared challenges give us the opportunity to regroup and come together, identifying the technologies and collaboration approaches necessary to improve livelihoods, profitability, and sustainability," Photo: Rethink Events

Shelbie Walker, Conference Producer: “Shared challenges give us the opportunity to regroup and come together, identifying the technologies and collaboration approaches necessary to improve livelihoods, profitability, and sustainability,” Photo: Rethink Events

Walker emphasises that it is more important than ever to bring the animal agriculture ecosystem together, to share strategic vision and bring an opportunity to benchmark as the sector continues to change profoundly and attract vast amounts of investment and innovation. “Digitisation and automation continue to be high priority, amplified even more so as a result of Covid-19. Consumer expectations of transparency (specifically, the origin of animal products), the rapidly growing world population and increasing demand for animal protein all present significant challenges to the sector, as well as the requirement to meet environmental objectives and sustainable production.

“The Animal AgTech Innovation Summit will explore the potential for technologies in the health, nutrition and digital spaces to transform the livestock industry, whilst addressing the emerging challenges and how to combat them.”

“Our summit audience includes precisely the right ecosystem of key players to determine where innovation is needed and what collaborations and investment will best accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies for a healthy, sustainable and secure animal agriculture industry.” Walker adds.

The current Covid-crisis has affected the animal agriculture industry in more ways than one, with many events being cancelled. Hosting events virtually seems to be the way forward, taking away the risks that come with physical events. But what limitations and opportunities does this bring?

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“The global lockdown started just before our San Francisco event was scheduled to take place, back in march,” Walker says. “As soon as it became apparent that Covid-19 was going to impact physical events worldwide throughout 2020, we pivoted as quickly as possible to a virtual model. Not wanting to compromise on the high standard of our event programming or networking, we reviewed more than 80 virtual platforms and had valuable conversations with key partners and stakeholders about what was most important for them in terms of ‘success’.

“We have been blown away by how well our virtually hosted events have been received, and by the support and positivity of our global agri-food network as we collectively deal with the unique circumstances through 2020.”

Something that has really stood out to me is the sense of all being ‘in it together’, finding new ways to overcome communication barriers and build relationships without a reliance on physical proximity.” Walker adds.

“The virtual platform allows us to prioritise ease of networking and personal interaction, which is something of critical importance to everyone we speak to. The platform is already live (from two weeks before the summit) for participants to begin their networking outreach with other speakers and delegates, schedule 1:1 video meetings, share contacts and sign up for roundtables. It will stay active for 30 days afterwards, with session content available to watch on demand, offering a much longer shelf life for making new connections than a physical summit, and benefits far superior to an ordinary webinar.

“Of course we miss the energy, buzz and sense of theatre of our live events, and look forward to getting back on stage as soon as we safely can. But we’re also genuinely excited by the fresh opportunities a virtual summit format brings in terms of bringing dynamic speakers to the screen, and extending audiences globally without travel, time and cost obligations.

“Our participants can expect to enjoy the same high-quality debates, market insights and new connections that they would at our physical events as we bring industry and thought leaders together next week.” Walker concludes.

Visit to join the virtual Animal AgTech Innovation Summit on Monday, 14 September 2020.

Rebecca Kwakman Content manager