Katie Jones, editor of Dairy Farmer and Farmers Guardian Livestock Editor, writes of her attendance at the World Dairy Summit.
In October I was lucky enough to travel to Chicago for the World Dairy Summit after being selected as one of nine agricultural journalists from around the word to attend the event as guests of the organisers: the International Dairy Federation (IDF).
Over 1,200 delegates from 55 countries were in attendance at the summit and included industry leaders, dairy experts, scientists and farmers, who were all there to discuss the latest on the most significant issues facing the global dairy sector both now and in the future.
Topics discussed included the complexities of international trade, sustainability, the role women play in the industry, and market trends.
There was an incredible atmosphere of positivity and enthusiasm during the whole of the four-day summit, and I learnt a huge amount about the dairy industry in countries around the world.
What struck me the most, was that despite the diversity in terms of size and scale, there are still many issues that all countries are facing such as the availability of labour, costs of production, and the impact of climate change.
It was a fantastic opportunity to meet not just the other IFAJ member journalists but also the other delegates – I spoke to representatives from the US department of agriculture, industry leaders from countries such as Japan, South Africa and Australia, as well as farmers from the US and around the world.
As well as the packed conference agenda, which included eight main sessions and 21 break-out sessions, there was also a busy evening programme, which included a welcome reception showcasing cheese from across the states of America – it was quite a sight!
I was also lucky enough to attend the Gala Dinner along with the delegation from the UK, which was held in the wonderful surroundings of the Field Museum.
Despite only being in Chicago for five days I managed to squeeze in some sightseeing including a boat tour on Chicago River, and a Chicago Bulls basketball game along with some of my fellow journalists.
A huge thank you to IFAJ for selecting me to attend the summit, and to the IDF for providing the funding for the trip. It was a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to learn more about the IDF and the dairy industry in the US and around the world.
Membership of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) is automatic for every BGAJ member. Working with global agricultural organisations such as the International Dairy Federation and the International Seed Federation, and commercial sponsors such as Corteva, Alltech and Syngenta, IFAJ can regularly offer members the chance to attend major events like the World Dairy Summit, press trips to member countries and the facilities of IFAJ partners, and of course the annual IFAJ Congress (in 2024, to be held in Switzerland). Opportunities are regularly posted on the Guild website, but for more information, visit www.ifaj.org.