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September 26, 2019 | Evolving Food and Agriculture: Dairy Without Cows

Danielle Park

Portfolio Manager and President of Venable Park Investment Counsel (www.venablepark.com) Ms Park is a financial analyst, attorney, finance author and regular guest on North American media. She is also the author of the best-selling myth-busting book "Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom on money management, markets and wealth that lasts," and a popular daily financial blog: www.jugglingdynamite.com

Dairy farming is one of Canada’s largest agricultural sectors and in the top two agricultural commodities in seven out of ten provinces, Quebec and Ontario being the largest producers.    In 2017, the sector contributed approximately $18.9B to Canada’s GDP and approximately 215,000 full-time equivalent jobs. On average, two-thirds of Canadian dairy produced is sold as raw milk with the remaining one-third refined into other dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter.[8]

As pointed out in the recent Rethinkx report on Food and Agriculture, just 3.3% of cow milk is comprised of solid proteins (casein and whey) and the rest is made up of water (87.7%), sugar (4.9%), fats (3.4%) and vitamins and minerals (0.7%).  In short, as a way to produce protein, vitamins and minerals, farming milk cows is a highly inefficient use of the land, energy, feed, water, labour, time, capital invested and pollution produced, per unit of nutrient yielded.

For all these reasons and more, dairy is amid a massive disruption by precision fermentation technology (programing micro-organisms to produce organic molecules without animals) and is one of the reasons that demand for cow products and producers is expected to fall 70% over the next decade.

More efficient, cleaner, healthier and more humane food production is essential in a global population expected to be nearly 10 billion by 2050.  This is a good news story overall, but it is a massive change for conventional thinking, policies and producers.  It is wise to see and adapt now.

Canada is not the only economy needing to reinvent many of its traditional industries.  This segment on New Zealand’s dairy dependence is worth watching.

The era of New Zealand’s safe economic reliance on its dairy industry is over. Disruptive technology is here and we’re staring down the barrel of crisis if our economy doesn’t adapt to survive.

Danielle Appleton, MBA and Masters in Dairy Science and Technology, paints us a quantitative and qualitative picture and argues a case for kiwi ingenuity to stay ahead of the inevitable change that is coming.  Here is a direct video link.

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September 26th, 2019

Posted In: Juggling Dynamite

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