The next decade will be one of change and challenge for the poultry industry, but those changes will be positive, according to Aidan Connolly, vice president of Alltech Inc., who spoke at the Alltech luncheon at the 2012 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention. "We are in an industry seeing extraordinary change on a global point of view, but the poultry industry is well positioned to take advantage of these changes," said Connolly.

These changes are driven by the fact that each year the world needs to feed an additional 80 million people, while meat demand is skyrocketing with people in the developing world now able to afford more chicken, turkey and beef, said Connolly. Combine that with 25 percent of the world's corn now going to ethanol, and the industry is facing the challenge of accelerating demand with reduced stocks of grain to feed animal agriculture. "We see demand for poultry growing by 29 percent over the next 10 years," said Connolly. "Much of that increased demand will be in Asia, but much of the production will come from North and South America." He said the U.S. and Brazil have the resources and structure to be the world's low-cost producers of poultry, and they will see continued growth in demand for exported products.

Connolly said the key to meeting that challenge lies in new technology, such as nutrigenetics. "We have developed nutritional programs that impact not only the productivity, but the quality of turkey, chicken and beef," he said. "We can design diets to maximize performance and quality of the animal. These will be a key part of the poultry and meat industries meeting the challenges of the next decade."