Making Bovine Agriculture Transparent – Honest Food

June 15, 2018

Our final business objective is to make bovine agriculture transparent. Food transparency and traceability is set to become increasingly important as supermarkets and consumers seek honest food produced to the highest environmental and food safety standards. Midstream agricultural businesses need to be able to demonstrate transparency and traceability.

Technological developments such as big data, the blockchain etc. may help with food traceability, but there is no substitute for seeing something with your own eyes.

Therefore, every turnkey SAS System will have the option to integrate a purpose built Open Farm agri-tourism venture. This Open Farm concept represents the core of our objective to make bovine agriculture transparent.

Walkways, viewing platforms and windows will enable visitors to observe the innovative SAS dairy and beef system in operation, including the:

  • Robotic milking process
  • Calving pens
  • Automatic TMR feeding system
  • Residual Feed Intake (RFI) technology
  • Automated calf feeding
  • Production of hydroponic barley grass
  • Separation of dairy effluent into nutrients and clean water
  • Impeccable standards of animal health and welfare

Throughout the self-tour of the dairy unit, visitors will be able to watch and listen to audio visual screens explaining the goings on before them.

In addition to the Open Farm tour, visitors will be able to purchase farm fresh food in the Open Farm café. A very simple and affordable, yet high quality menu helps consumers make the farm-to-fork connection.

A mezzanine floor above the café will provide a museum style set-up with displays, videos, and information concerning environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and the essential role of animal foods in human nutrition.

The UK demonstration unit Open Farm will be developed with future replication in mind. The Open Farm blueprint can be overlaid with the SAS System blueprint, enabling any turnkey SAS System to integrate this agri-tourism venture.

Many Chinese food consumers are weary of food quality, safety and provenance. Food safety scandals have damaged Chinese consumer confidence in domestically produced food, with 71% of the population expressing serious concern about food safety according to a Pew Global Attitudes survey.

For this reason, Chinese consumers see imported milk as a safer alternative to domestic supplies. Building consumer trust in domestically produced food is something the Open Farm concept can help with.

Developing the Open Farm concept in China holds enormous potential. Chinese consumers need to:

  • Witness the production of high quality milk
  • Sample farm fresh hydroponic grass-fed dairy products and beef
  • Build trust in domestically produced food

Transparency is set to become an increasingly important aspect of modern food production. What better way is there to engage with this concept, than giving people the opportunity to “get behind the scenes” of a modern, efficient and high-welfare cattle operation?

The Open Farm aims to convey three basic messages:

1) Cattle are extremely well looked after

2) Cows do not destroy the environment

3) Animal food is safe, healthy and nutritious

At the end of the day, the ultimate outcome is a visitor leaving the farm gate a little more informed, satiated, and supportive of the cattle industry than when they arrived.

This post concludes the introduction to our five business objectives. In future posts I intend to explore the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture and this company, particularly as it relates to economics, geopolitics, technological disruption, and human nutrition.

Edward Talbot

e.talbot@sustainableag.co.uk