The Alltech REBELation concludes with a challenge

Alltech REBELation-an international conference exploring innovation, inspiration and world-changing ideas has been recently concluded.

More than 3,000 attendees from 68 nations visited the event from May 17-20, 2015 to look beyond the obvious. “Create your business one relationship at a time,” Dr. Pearse Lyons said. “Find the extra mile and go there. Learn how you, too, can build a $2 billion company if you empower your team, one person at a time.” As he observed, “The number one thing missing from agriculture and business today is leadership.

In the spirit of the company’s 31st annual conference, Alltech president and founder Dr. Pearse Lyons introduced Powell as “America’s favorite rebel.” Powell underscored that “leaders need to set a purpose. The best leaders convey purpose to everyone in their organization.” He said he often advises young people to “be a success every day; give your best every day. That will bring you satisfaction.” A four-star general who served four U.S. presidents in various roles, including national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States’ 65th secretary of state, Powell shared his insights on leadership with attendees.

Alltech Rebelation kicks off in Lexington, Kentucky.
Alltech Rebelation kicks off in Lexington, Kentucky.

On the opening day of the event, former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell received the 2015 Alltech Medal of Excellence, Alltech’s highest distinction, which is awarded annually to someone of great achievement and character. Previous honorees include scientists such as Dr. Eugenia Wang for her pioneering work in microRNA and agricultural leaders such as Norman Borlaug, the “father of the Green Revolution.”

Two university students received awards in the 10th annual Alltech Young Scientist (AYS) program, the largest global contest of its kind that rewards scientific genius and experimental application in agri-science. Students were challenged to submit research studies that demonstrate a keen awareness of science and its applications for improving the future of the world, specifically through agriculture. Xiaoqiu (Churchill) Wang, who attends Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, was the graduate winner and received $10,000. Rafal Bialek, a student at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, won the undergraduate division, receiving $5,000. Nearly 9,000 students from 62 countries had registered for the AYS this year.

The Alltech REBELation offered 11 symposia in three tracks (agriculture, business, and food and beverage) and featured 121 renowned speakers. Alltech South Asia customers choose Poultry: Production & Marketing Coming Together, Aqua: Protein of the Future, Dairy: Today’s Greatest Business Opportunity and Brewing & Distilling sessions.

Bob Langert, retired vice president of sustainability, McDonald’s, highlighted the importance of sustainability in the poultry industry in his comments at the Alltech REBELation.

“Consumer expectations are driving the global poultry market, and sustainability is the new norm. Don’t question it. If you do, you will get left behind. Poultry production must provide a purpose in life beyond profit. Sustainability is the answer,” said Langert. To address sustainability, McDonald’s developed Our Journey Together for Good, a program that aims to position them as a modern burger company. “Today we sell the same amount of chicken as we do beef,” added Langert. This program combines both business and social values to position McDonald’s as a leader in sustainability.

Mary Shelman, director of Harvard Business School’s agribusiness program, highlighted this issue in the Marketing for Business Growth session, focusing on the Coca-Cola and Fair Oaks Farms Brands partnership that brings to market new premium milk that Coca-Cola believes will revolutionize the milk sector

Former U.S. secretary of agriculture Dan Glickman told the audience that according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Association (FAO), the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tons, with a global cost of $750 billion annually. “Each day 35 to 40 percent of food that is grown or raised is wasted, and 71 percent of global water consumption is used to irrigate crops,”

University of Kentucky men’s head basketball coach, John Calipari, received the Alltech 2015 Humanitarian Award during the closing session. The Humanitarian Award is given annually to a person of strong character who uses his accomplishments to positively influence and inspire others. In a 2010 telethon, The Calipari Foundation raised more than $1 million for victims of the devastating earthquake. Its 2012 telethon raised $1 million for victims of hurricane Sandy.

In concluding the event, Dr. Lyons said, “My challenge to you is to see the world as it is. Are you impacting the world or is the world impacting you? It is all about risk, action and reward.” At the same time, he said, “You’ve got to love the journey.”

Quoting the late Sen. Edward Kennedy – “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die” – Lyons said, “That’s what this is about. What’s your dream? Where are you going? How can we help you achieve it?”

Lyons told attendees to write down their dream and their risk on a piece of paper. “Bring it back next year, and let’s celebrate together,” he said.

Next year’s conference, THE ALLTECH, will be held May 22-25, 2016.