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Partnering For the Future We Want
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (often referred to as Rio+20 Earth Summit) took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. The event brought together government leaders from more than 190 nations, private sector business leaders, NGOs and other thought-leaders, activists and social entrepreneurs, to debate the challenges of society and the planet and address global issues and a sustainable way forward. More than $513 billion was pledged to advance sustainable development at the Rio+20 Summit organized under the theme, "The Future We Want."
Novus partnered with Business for the Environment (B4E) to provide a platform for members of the livestock agriculture industry to take recommendations forward to government leaders participating in Rio+20. Recognizing the role of animal agriculture in contributing to a sustainable future, B4E is the leading international platform for dialogue and partnership solutions for the environment. B4E summits bring together world leaders, CEOs, senior executives and industry experts to share ideas and commit to solutions which address the most urgent environmental challenges facing the world today.
Novus joined forces with B4E to create two unique events to enable our customers to make their voice heard in creating "The Future We Want," especially regarding the subjects of life cycle assessment (LCA) and benchmarking protocols for the livestock industry, two of the most pressing issues facing our customers today.
B4E, Berlin, Germany | May 2012:
We brought together key influencers in the area of LCA and benchmarking for the livestock industry, who participated in a working group session attended by approximately 70 participants. We were honored to welcome Alexander Döring, Secretary General, FEFAC (European Feed Manufacturers' Federation) and Hsin Huang, Secretary General, International Meat Secretariat, to address the group.
B4E, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | June 2012:
We hosted a private workshop for our customers that included more than 40 multi-sector participants, bringing together a powerful panel of industry leaders including Henning Steinfeld, Senior Policy Officer United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor of Agriculture and Air Quality, University of California, Davis.
We supported recommendations for food security and sustainable agriculture formulated at the B4E events which were carried forward to the RIO+20 Summit.
- Establish efficient, effective and achievable agricultural sustainability goals and standards.
- Focus policies and efforts on small-holders within groups as the key actors for change in policy reform, credit provision, gender inclusion, food production and income generation.
- Provide better infrastructure and responsible investment incentives to change and reward precompetitive collaboration and informative sharing amongst the private sector.
Insights from Michael Whitmer
Manager, Poultry Solutions
"For the past three years, Novus has been a strong promoter of World Egg Day, which is the second Friday in October. Each year, we expand our reach and our activity. We don't produce eggs, so this is not our primary market, but it is our customers' market.
Our mission is to contribute to feeding the world affordable, wholesome food and it seemed to us that with eggs being one of the best, low-cost, highly available sources of protein out there, we had a role to play both in working toward our mission and also in supporting our customers. It seemed to us that misconceptions about the nutritional value of eggs, as well as low awareness of their true value, were preventing higher consumption levels.
The Truth About Eggs: At first, our involvement was helping our customers develop good communications about eggs. Then we started investing in our own egg awareness activities as part of our own corporate responsibility efforts. We developed communication kits and a website telling "The Truth about Eggs." In 2012, we went a step further by engaging in a deeper partnership with the International Egg Commission (IEC), World Egg Day founder, and embracing our commitment to support World Egg Day even more enthusiastically.
Egg Life Cycle: One expression of this partnership is our participation as an industry partner in a new Food and Agriculture Organization led initiative in which the IEC plays a key role. The objective is to harmonize measurement of livestock life cycle impacts to allow consistent comparison between studies conducted by the egg and poultry sector in many countries and create a more thorough understanding of environmental impacts and feeding practices which can potentially play a positive role to increase sustainable egg production.
Egg Summit: In September prior to World Egg Day, we hosted an Egg and Ag Industry Roundtable and Sustainability Egg Summit. Participants included leaders throughout the international egg industry, academia, egg producers and NGOs who are working to establish benchmarks in the agri-sector for sustainability. We wanted to provide an open forum for discussion and new connections to foster ongoing dialogue. During a roundtable discussion, attendees discussed producer perspectives on sustainability and the challenges of meeting the growing demand for food worldwide, with the role of eggs playing a big part in the solution.
This year on World Egg Day, Novus celebrated with a range of interesting events in almost every region of the world in which we do business. Each local Novus team received communication kits that they could adapt and tailor to the needs of their local communities, in local languages, addressing the ways in which different messages could help create positive perceptions about eggs and change people's habits. We estimate that in 2012, the total number of people touched by our message via all of our different channels is close to 1.5 million people."
Highlights from Novus 2012 World Egg Day
Brazil: Novus partnered with the Ovos Brazil Institute for a week-long celebration, taking place in 13 states and reaching over two million people. We published information on the benefits of eggs to kids, university students and seniors. Twelve additional companies also participated in these activities, making this a true industry-wide collaboration.
U.S.: We partnered with egg-producer Rose Acre Farms to engage with Forder Elementary School in St. Louis. Over 480 students and 70 faculty and staff participated to learn about eggs. Activities included lectures, quizzes, games, egg and spoon races and egg decorating followed by a healthy egg-based snack. In addition, staff at Novus headquarters enjoyed an "Omelets of the World" presentation given by Guinness World Record holder for "World's Fastest Omelet Maker" and egg expert, Howard Helmer.
Africa: Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia: Once again, we partnered with egg industry associations in several African countries to advance egg awareness. In Kenya and Uganda, we held two-day events, the first with an educational focus and opportunities to interact with egg producers and the second with roadshows, road processions and school competitions. In Mozambique and Zambia, educational presentations were broadcast on radio and television. In Nigeria, we hosted events at schools with activities including egg races, talks by healthcare professionals and student competitions.
China: Three members of the Novus China team celebrated World Egg Day with a visit to No. 115 primary school attended by 200 children in the remote and very low-income town of Urumqi, Xinjiang Province. Eggs are rarely in the Urumqi diet. We spent a day with the children, teaching them about eggs and egg nutrition and providing each child with a Novus Egg Kit. We pledged to provide over 20,000 eggs (two eggs per child per week) for a full year to help the Urumqi children develop the egg habit while gaining a nutritional benefit.
Thailand: Ten volunteers from the Novus Thailand office took a trip to the Banglamung Home for Boys in the southern Chonburi Province for a day of egg events with 200 young abandoned and orphaned boys. We taught the boys about egg nutrition and played games. Novus donated 1,000 eggs to contribute to their ongoing positive egg experience.
Insights from Joanne Ivy
President and CEO, American Egg Board (AEB) and Chairman of the International Egg Commission from 2011-2013
The IEC is the only organization that represents the global egg industry and aims to benefit the entire egg industry across developed, threshold and developing countries.
"Eggs provide a number of nutritional advantages. They are a source of 13 vitamins and minerals, some of which are difficult to find naturally in other food sources. For example, eggs are one of the best natural sources of choline, a nutrient that has been shown to be important for healthy pregnancies, both for the mother and the child. Eggs are a good source of vitamin D, which is difficult to get naturally through the food supply. Calorie-for-calorie, eggs are as good a source as there is for protein and are among the most economically produced protein sources available. Recent research published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that eggs now contain about 14 percent less cholesterol than they did ten years ago and about 41 percent more vitamin D. Changes in hens' diets, breeding effects and a more rapid rate-of-lay have been cited as possible reasons for the observed changes in egg nutritional composition. Eggs remain an excellent means of promoting food security in developing countries.
In terms of developing and threshold countries, egg availability and price are key challenges, as well as the need to develop a better understanding of the nutritional benefits of eggs. IEC is partnering with the FAO to set up programs to work with local producers' associations to better communicate with government and consumers, improve production efficiency, provide assistance for small scale farming and general education about eggs and nutrition. IEC also partners with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to ensure better control of diseases and biosecurity and works with the World Poultry Science Association to ensure sustainability of NGO projects dealing with poultry and egg production. IEC aims to influence policy through its broad engagement with a range of organizations to impact both large scale and small scale farming and egg production.
IEC created World Egg Day to provide a "hallmark" opportunity to promote the virtues of the incredible egg. World Egg Day has continued to grow since it was established. Every year, more and more countries are developing exciting events, generating media interest around eggs and reaching out to consumers encouraging them to eat more eggs. Celebrating the "day" has turned into week-long or month-long promotional activities. With the support of IEC, egg farmers, allied egg companies and egg associations around the world, the egg industry pledged to help feed the underfed and undernourished and to provide a sustainable, affordable, high-quality food supply to people around the world. In 2012, World Egg Day was celebrated the world over from Vietnam to Mozambique, from Switzerland to Argentina.
Novus is a strong supporter of IEC and they have made a major commitment to promote World Egg Day over the past few years. Novus promotes World Egg Day by not only celebrating the virtues of the egg, but using the special day as an opportunity to conduct Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Novus conducts World Egg Day promotions in many countries, including developing and threshold countries, educating the people in those countries about egg production and the nutritional benefits of eggs in their diet and feeding the hungry with egg's nutritious, high-quality protein. Novus's worldwide involvement has greatly enhanced the success of IEC's World Egg Day."
Creating Sustainable Beef Solutions
Insights from Stephanie Gable
Executive Manager, Dairy and Beef Applied Solutions
"At Novus, we know that we don't have all the answers, but we do know that finding the best solutions will be the product of multi-sector discussions and a collective view of action necessary for a sustainable beef industry. We felt this was particularly relevant after the North American drought in the early part of 2012 which affected more than 50 percent of the U.S. beef cow herd, higher than both the 2006 and 2010 dry years, indicating that climate change issues also are squarely on the industry sustainability agenda.
Therefore, in 2012, we took the initiative to bring together a unique group of experienced industry professionals from twenty companies representing different sectors of the beef industry from all corners of the globe to engage with their peers for a full week. The Novus Global Beef Roundtable is the start of a tradition that I am sure will be valued by all in coming years.
In the early part of the week, the group traveled to Denver, Colorado for an information-packed day at the CattleFax and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) offices. Analysts from CattleFax presented the latest and greatest market data, which is typically only available to members. CattleFax is owned by professional cattlemen of all sizes and types and is a system to collect, analyze and distribute information needed for good marketing and business decisions. The group also met with representatives from Colorado State University ARDEC (Agriculture Research, Development and Education Center), touring some of their beef research pens and listening to presentations at the facility. During the remaining days, after further visits to beef operations, the cattlemen discussed and debated the most significant challenges and opportunities for the industry, including alternative feeding systems, animal welfare, effective rumen function and sustainability. All agreed on important directions for the industry, such as improved mineral application technology, improved forage digestibility and improved health and animal well-being."
Insights from Lee Leachman
Leachman Cattle of Colorado
Leachman Cattle of Colorado (LCoC) was founded in 2003 by Lee Leachman. The operation is based at the Horton Test Center in Wellington, CO. Annually, LCoC markets over 1,000 bulls including Angus, Red Angus, Stabilizer and Charolais.
"Producers should be aware of the significant trends facing the global beef industry. We must seek solutions to ensure the sustainability of our industry. Rising protein demand from the growing world population will present both challenges and opportunities. Consumers will increasingly scrutinize our animal handling and expect us to use proper care. The consumer also wants integrity in the food chain with increased traceability and source verification. The growing world population and economy will drive commodity prices higher, especially for corn, and these prices will continue to squeeze livestock margins. Consequently, we must utilize selection and technology to improve feed efficiency in beef cattle."
Sustainable Aquaculture Solutions
Insights from Francisco Gomes
Executive Manager, Aquaculture Business Unit
Aquaculture-The Protein of the Future: "Aquaculture continues to grow and diversify. Today, aquaculture is a $100 million market, producing around 60 million tons of fish worldwide, and is predicted to increase almost four-fold to 220 million tons by 2050. Aquaculture will be a critical element in feeding the world's growing populations affordable, wholesome food – in fact, aquaculture actually could be the world's largest source of protein in the future. Priorities include sustainable nutrition, which means ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials used for feed, overcoming the dependency on fish meal and helping to prevent disease. These priorities remain at the forefront of our thinking at Novus and define our technology development. Our aqua research center in Vietnam, which we established in 2008, is an important part of this activity. Our role covers the optimization of the entire value chain of aquaculture production, from raw materials to harvest, with five key platforms: Feed Cost Reduction, Functional Feeds, Health through Nutrition, Optimized Raw Materials and Sustainable Practices.
Prebiotics to Sustain Aquaculture: Fish meal replacement is a key priority for many aquaculture farmers due to the high costs of fish meal and the challenges of feeding marine fish. When you replace fish meal in their diet, they develop growth and other health problems, including enteritis, which also leads to an increase in the mortality rate. Then farmers have to change the diet, but not until they already have suffered loss. At Novus, we know that it's possible to make this change in a preventative way. The answer is prebiotics. Our new product, PREVIDA®, is the first real alternative in the market. In our research trials, the reduction in the severity of the enteritis symptoms shown meant that gut health issues did not progress to a full extent and mortality was avoided. We have done work this year in several countries throughout Africa and the Middle East and in all cases, we have developed knowledge of how our functional blends work well with locally sourced raw materials, enabling farmers to replace fish meal in in an affordable way."
In 2012, Novus partnered with the BioMarine Aquaculture Business Convention and ThinkTank in London which gathered companies from around the world to think strategically about pressing issues in the aquaculture industry and form recommendations covering everything from regulation and human resources development to technology advances for our industry. This was a valuable way to gain greater understanding of the issues and achieve industry alignment for improved sustainable development over the next thirty years.
Developing Tilapia Aquaculture in Haiti
As past president of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), Craig Browdy, Novus Executive Manager, Aquaculture Research, was involved in supporting a tilapia aquaculture project in a Haitian school in collaboration with the Aquaculture Without Frontiers organization. This led to an insight that the aquaculture industry in Haiti was rather fragmented. Craig believed a structured review of challenges and opportunities involving all key players that have an impact on aquaculture development would enable a more strategic and structured approach, help develop aquaculture as a source of affordable, wholesome food for the people of Haiti and provide greater economic stability. He felt that this would be particularly relevant for Haiti after the devastating effects of the major earthquake in 2010 and attempts at economic and social recovery.
The World Aquaculture Society agreed to host a workshop which was attended by approximately 50 local and international participants including Haitian aquaculture sector operators, representatives of NGOs interested in supporting sustainable development and academic and scientific experts in the field of aquaculture. All shared a common interest in earthquake recovery and aquaculture development of the country. The proceedings of the workshop were published in 2012 and concluded that "establishing commercial-scale tilapia aquaculture in Haiti can contribute to economic development by providing employment opportunities throughout the value chain, especially in marketing. Small and medium aquaculture enterprises can be developed as export-oriented agribusinesses. Aquaculture development also can increase the local supply of fish, thereby improving human nutrition and national food security." The workshop also produced detailed recommendations for practical ways of exploiting such opportunities. While these recommendations are just a start, they form a basis for improving the quality of life in Haiti and we hope they will lead to real action.
A Challenge for Improved Aquaculture Efficiency
Novus supports the development of research and new science-based technologies in aquaculture for the development of affordable, wholesome food, as well as engaging with students to support their research and contribution to the development of aquaculture. As part of its ongoing support, Novus partnered with WAS to create a research challenge for aquaculture students. The culture of low-cost freshwater fish (carp, tilapia and catfish) is rapidly expanding worldwide and provides a tremendous opportunity to provide high-quality animal protein for feeding growing world populations. As production expands, price pressures have increased, demanding improved efficiencies. The most pressing need that faces the aquaculture industry is to become more cost-efficient. The Novus-WAS challenge invited students to present a technology which can help reduce production costs through increased productivity, growth or feed conversion efficiencies. The selection of the winning contribution was announced at Aquaculture 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee, in February 2013.
The winning student was awarded a four-week, expenses-paid internship in the summer of 2013 to be spent working with the Novus Aquaculture Research team on a current project being carried out at the Novus Aqua Research Center in Vietnam. Vietnam is the third largest aquaculture-producing country in the world and our Research Center plays a central role in understanding and developing new technologies.
Novus-WAS internship Challenge 2012 Winner: Joao Manuel Cura Rito completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Coimbra with an emphasis in ecology and completed his masters degree in the area of Estuarine Ecology. His research focused on the population dynamics in extreme climate events of a bivalve species present in Mondego Estuary, Portugal. After his studies, Joao was hired to participate in grant-funded environmental research at a commercial aquaculture company on the coast of Portugal. This exposure to aquaculture catalyzed his interest in the field and he continued his studies towards a Ph.D. degree in Biosciences at the University of Coimbra with a specialty in aquaculture. The work aims to optimize diets for farmed sea-bass through metabolic profiling.
Joao's wining internship challenge proposal is entitled, "Glycerol as a Novel Feedstock Supplement for Sparing of Dietary Protein Catabolism and Thus Reducing Feed Cost." The proposal is described as an evaluation of the feasibility of inclusion of glycerol byproducts from biodiesel production in fish diets with the application of biochemical methods for estimating whether the contribution from glycerol reflects the sparing of gluconeogenic amino acid catabolism.
Following the success of the 2012 challenge, for which 16 applications were received, we already have published our 2013 challenge, this time focusing on ideas to combat the health problems caused by viral, bacterial, fungal or parasite infections which cause losses and inefficiencies. For more details on the 2013 challenge, visit www.novusint.com/aqua.
Insights from Joao Manuel Cura Rito
"The chance to exchange ideas with top scientists in the aquaculture research area is something that not all students in the beginning of their Ph.D. have the privilege to do. I am very excited to start this summer!"
Collaborating to Advance the Feed Industry
Insights from Dan Meagher
SVP and President, Global Animal Nutrition Solutions
"At Novus, we believe we have a responsibility to support the sustainability of our industry. The only way to drive real change is through partnership and collaboration. We must address questions of how we as an industry partner reach further across the value chain to have an impact in advancing sustainable growth, providing technology and product solutions for increasing food security and helping emerging markets realize their potential. One of the ways in which Novus does this is to engage in dialogue at a macro level with leading industry organizations, globally and regionally, as well as at a micro level with each individual customer."
International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA)
IFAMA serves as an effective worldwide networking organization and acts as a functional bridge between the agribusiness industry, researchers, educators, government, consumer groups and NGOs. IFAMA's mission is to bring together top executives, academics, policy makers, students and stakeholders to network and stimulate strategic thinking across global food, fiber, fuel, floral and forestry systems. A key focus of IFAMA is the commitment to the development of youth in the agriculture industry. IFAMA held its 22nd Annual IFAMA World Forum and Symposium in Shanghai in June 2012, which was attended by more than 300 participants.
Novus played a leadership role in this event, including sponsoring a student case study competition with Harvard Business-style case studies focused on agribusiness and hosting a luncheon for conference participants. Dan Meagher, Novus's SVP and President, Global Animal Nutrition Solutions, spoke to the plenary attendees about filling the productivity gap that will result from continued population growth, especially in China. He stressed that improved technology and improved nutrition and management, while delivering the highest level of food safety, are required to meet growing needs.
Novus also hosted a unique workshop related to the future of the food industry, facilitated by author and professor Dr. Marcos Fava-Neves from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, for 16 of our key Chinese customers.
Novus President and CEO, Thad Simons, was named President Elect of IFAMA at the conclusion of the conference and will officially assume the role of President of IFAMA at the 2013 Annual IFAMA World Forum and Symposium. We are proud to take on this important leadership role for the benefit of our industry, present and future.
International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF)
Novus is a member of the technical board of the joint IFIF-FEFANA Specialty Feed Ingredients Sustainability (SFIS) Project, which brings together a consortium of international companies and associations dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of livestock through innovative specialty feed ingredients. The SFIS consortium is led by the IFIF and the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA), and engages with other global feed industry partners.
The project partners have joined together to measure and establish the role of specialty feed ingredients (SFIs), specifically amino acids and enzymes, on the environmental impact of livestock production and are united in their goal to contribute to reducing emissions in the food and feed chain. The output of this project will be a global manual of "Best Nutritional Practices for Sustainable Livestock Production," which will contribute to a similar initiative being led by the U.S. Food and Agriculture Administration to gain global alignment based on the best available knowledge around the world.
Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI)
The SAI platform is a non-profit organization which facilitates sharing of knowledge and initiatives to support the development and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices, involving different stakeholders throughout the food chain, using a continuous improvement process that allows for easier and more flexible adoption by farmers worldwide.
Novus is a member of the Dairy Working Group of SAI to help promote sustainable dairy production worldwide. The Working Group currently is addressing two major issues: Climate Change/Green House Gas Emissions and Indicators of Sustainable Dairy Production.
In July 2012 at the SAI 10th Anniversary event in France, Novus President and CEO, Thad Simons, and Novus Marketing Manager, EMEA, Frederika Somers, participated in the event and engaged in discussion among executives and farmers on sustainable agriculture sourcing and the challenges ahead.
Insights from Uwe Ranft
Senior Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa
"In the EU alone, the feed industry employs over 110,000 people and is a $45 billion euro industry. More importantly, feed is the largest expense for livestock farmers and represents a critical link for the safety and security of food production. We value the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues in the industry and contribute our science-based expertise and market knowledge to improve our environmental footprint and pave the way for a sustainable future."
Building the Agri-Talent Pipeline
The future of sustainable animal agriculture requires the continuous flow of passionate, capable and competent people who will develop and commercialize the technologies that will make agriculture more efficient and more available as a source of affordable, wholesome protein for the world's growing populations. At Novus, we share a responsibility to the future of our industry and we maintain several initiatives which are designed to attract new talent into an agriculture career and help them progress. Many of these people will not join our business, but we are committed to broader action for the benefit of our global communities. Around the world, career opportunities in agriculture have been declining due to the migration of populations to urban settings and the perception of agriculture as a less attractive career option. We want to help reverse this trend. We do this by forming partnerships around the world to engage with upcoming students of agriculture, food technologies and other science-based disciplines.
In 2012, the Novus Scholars Program entered its sixth year, with over 170 Novus Scholars now in our global community. This year, we welcomed the highest number of scholars ever in a single year – 14 students from China, India and Thailand.
Insights from Novus Scholars, China, 2012: All Novus Scholars present a review of their experience to the Novus team back in their home country. Their presentations are a mixture of impressions about the differences between American and Chinese culture, the way Novus works, the agri-industry in America and the progress made in their specific research projects. The presentations demonstrate that our Novus Scholars Program has a deep and lasting impact on the overall development of these students, which we hope will serve them well as future ambassadors of a sustainable global agri-sector.
Internships for Future Agri Leaders
Another example of our partnership in building the agriculture pipeline is our engagement with universities and other academic institutions to encourage students to apply for internships at Novus during the summer months. Our internship program has been enhanced over the past few years to provide greater focus and structure and align with students' needs and our business needs. In 2012, we welcomed 19 students, providing opportunities at our Novus headquarters in R&D and other corporate functions, while seven were assigned to roles around the country with our technical and sales teams. Responses to a survey of the students after the internships indicated that 91 percent of interns would recommend the Novus internship program to other students and 81 percent would return as a Novus intern if given the opportunity.
A perfect example of the successful integration of an intern into a full-time role is the story of Kendre Stringfellow, Houston, TX, who started work with Novus as a Technical Sales Representative immediately after completing his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University in 2012.
Insights from Kendre Stringfellow
Technical Services Manager
"As an intern, I traveled with sales representatives and the technical service team visiting customers. During this time, I learned how to work with customers and the importance of customer service. I participated in several conferences which built my knowledge and awareness. Also during the internship, I was involved in the Novus video outreach project for kids in fourth to sixth grade. We interviewed urban kids to get their views about agriculture and helped provide answers to their questions from around the Novus system.
I was the primary investigator in an actual trial evaluating one of our products and analyzing the data, which was the most significant part of my internship. This is what I always wanted to do after I graduated. It was a very good training process. The trial was going to conclude after the end of my internship, so I asked if I could stay to finish it. Novus said yes, so I stuck around and continued to complete this work. I was happy I was offered a job as Technical Service Manager. Ironically, perhaps, this is exactly what I wanted to do. Initially, I thought I would qualify to be a veterinarian, but the more I got involved in the research side, my views changed. Getting out in the field with Novus is what ultimately set me on my career path.
What I love about working here is that there is a very diverse culture - employees come from all around the world. Also, the diverse portfolio of products allows me to increase my knowledge and background. I am sure that there are many opportunities to advance here at Novus."
Advancing African Women in Agricultural Research
We entered our third year of partnership with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program in 2012. Established in 2008, AWARD is a professional development program that strengthens the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to alleviate poverty and improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa. The program is helping to fast- track the careers of outstanding female African agricultural scientists and provides premier opportunities to research specific nutrition solutions to food security issues in their home countries and regional economic communities.
AWARD fellows benefit from a two-year career development program focused on establishing mentoring partnerships, building science skills and developing leadership capacity. The fellowships are awarded on the basis of intellectual merit, leadership capacity and the potential of the scientist's research to improve the daily lives of smallholder farmers, especially women.
Novus was the first corporate sponsor for program recipients, pledging a five-year commitment to hosting and mentoring AWARD scholars through comprehensive support for nine-month research attachments through our corporate headquarters in St. Charles, MO.
During this year, we welcomed our third AWARD research fellow, Matilda Ayim-Akonor, to work with our R&D group and to collaborate at the University of Georgia's Poultry Disease Research Center. Her research will focus on improving our understanding of respiratory diseases in poultry including isolating, identifying and genetically characterizing pathogens to determine their origin. Matilda is a Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Animal Research Institute (CSIR- ARI) in Accra, Ghana. Following her research program in the U.S., she will return to her home country of Ghana to apply her findings to contribute to food security and regional economic development.
Insights from Matilda Ayim-Akonor
AWARD research fellow
"While in the U.S., I hope to acquire technical skills in diagnosis and insights into control strategies of poultry diseases. I hope to bring skills and information back home to develop technologies that can be easily adopted to control and possibly eradicate diseases in poultry. This would help increase production and consequently improve the livelihood of the rural poor in Ghana."
John Brown Scholars Program
The John Brown Scholars Program allows 16 qualified upperclassmen in the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) to spend a week in January visiting with St. Louis agribusiness firms. In 2012, Novus again hosted four John Brown Scholars to help them get a first-hand impression of working in agriculture at Novus.
Missouri Colleges Fund – Science in Action Day
In April 2012, Novus held our fourth annual Science in Action Day. This event provides an opportunity for college students from across the state of Missouri to gain valuable insight into different science-based careers. The students were recipients of science scholarships through the Missouri Colleges Fund scholarship program. Through the Missouri Colleges Fund, Novus funds scholarships for students at 16 universities across the state of Missouri each year. The 2012 scholars toured Novus headquarters and participated in discussions with science professionals representing a wide range of careers showcasing science applications.