More than 2,000 delegates from 60 countries have gathered for “What If?” the 30th Annual Alltech International Symposium, which is taking place May 19-21 in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. The symposium opened with a welcome address from Alltech founder and president Dr. Pearse Lyons, who posed the question of “what would you do with $10,000” to the gathered audience who were eager to discover more about what lies ahead for the agri-business industry. Lyons founded Alltech in 1980 with $10,000 capital, and the company has grown to annual sales of $1 billion.

Lyons posed several “What If?” scenarios in the opening plenary session of the Alltech Symposium including asking delegates what type of legacy they will leave behind for future generations.

 “It is hard to believe that I hosted the Alltech’s inaugural symposium 30 years ago,” said Lyons. “Since then, my company has become a scientific leader in the field of agribusiness, and we are now in our fourth decade of improving the health and performance of people, animals and plants through our ground-breaking scientific innovations.”

Evoking curiosity with its theme, “What If,” the Alltech Symposium is focusing on the areas of crop science, life sciences, Africa, modern farming, the algae opportunity, and business and technology – all primary topics of focus, featuring notable, expert speakers from around the world.

During the opening plenary session, Dr. Karl Dawson, Alltech vice president and chief scientific officer of research, presented on the six big visions that promise to radically change the global supply chain:


  • The face of agriculture is changing towards urban and vertical production
  • Big data will provide new opportunities – such as new analytical tools
  • New predictive models will drive precision agricultural systems
  • New nutritional approaches will change the way we eat
  • New standards will be used for nutritional management
  • Traceability will drive the food chain and control waste

The most significant challenge is to feed the world in 2050 when the global population is set to reach nine billion.

“Science and technology will continue to change the way we produce food,” said Dawson. “We can now understand our livestock with the aid of molecular tools, which provide us with billions of observations while big data presents us with new opportunities.”

Lyons shared Alltech’s passionate commitment to scientific innovation and told the audience it was about “TIP” – Transformation, Inspiration and Passion.

“With passion you can move mountains and bring people with you,” said Lyons.