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Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference: Rural Futures II


Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference: Rural Futures II

In the context of a growing population, climate change, increased risks of crop failures and price volatility, and greater pressures on natural resources, sustainably feeding the world will require a systemic transformation in the way that we produce, manage and consume food. Today’s food and agricultural systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of food to global markets. However, high-external input, resource-intensive agricultural systems have caused massive deforestation, water scarcities, biodiversity loss, soil depletion and high greenhouse gas emissions.

 In particular, as part of the debate on the long-term sustainability of our food and farming systems, the negative environmental impacts of current livestock production systems and the human health and nutritional benefits of livestock products are coming under increasing scrutiny, as more questions are raised about the social acceptability of ruminant products in regard to food quality and safety, animal welfare and the competition between feed and food.

While being fully aware of the urgent need to address these large-scale challenges right throughout the livestock food chain from production to consumption, it is also important to recognise that livestock plays a positive role in providing in providing high-quality protein, minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients in the human diet as well other essential environmental, economic and social roles in a variety of farming systems throughout the world. In particular, pasture-based livestock production can help maintain important pastoral ecosystems and due to their ingenious digestion system, ruminant livestock can utilise land otherwise unsuitable for food production and support the management of highly biodiverse grasslands. Moreover, livestock play a crucial economic role for around 60% of rural households in developing countries – including smallholder farmers, agro-pastoralists and pastoralists as well as in many rural areas in the developed world.

This conference will address the major environmental, consumer and economic challenges facing our pasture-based livestock systems in Scotland and Ireland. We will in particular address options for creating sustainable and resilient pasture-based livestock production systems that can help mitigate GHG emissions and adapt to a changing climate, while continuing to provide food and nutrition security.

Specifically, we will explore how to strengthen the role of sustainable livestock in a circular bio-economy. This conference will bring perspectives and insights to work together to bring about effective policy, economic and technological solutions that could lead to a vibrant, sustainable and a more circular agricultural and rural sector in Scotland and Ireland in the coming decades.
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Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference: Rural Futures II Free

Map Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre, Dublin, Ireland
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