EI: Could you describe recent changes in the multiplication programs and distribution of Bovans, ISA and Shaver products in North America?
DL/EF: Perhaps I should start by saying what hasn’t changed. ISA is committed to delivering healthy, productive and efficient layers to the industry. With our global network of pure line farms, including our units in Canada, we offer a secure source of genetic solutions for the global egg industry.
We believe in offering alternatives – Bovans, Shaver and Dekalb White products and ISA and Bovans Brown products – which give producers a chance to choose whatever suits their needs best. For years, we have focused our breeding program on feed conversion, durability and productivity which translates into profit for our customers in difficult economic times.
EI: Could you comment on current challenges facing the industry and possible solutions?
DL/EF: What we see is that all livestock production faces challenges with higher input costs, fluctuating demand and changing needs of consumers and society. We believe the egg industry is in a great position to turn these challenges into opportunities.
Eggs are a very cost effective source of nutrition for consumers – especially important when the economy is challenging. We think that in the long term, demand for eggs by society will grow.
Our focus in breeding means that today’s layer converts feed and produces more eggs than ever before. A hen which can produce 500 eggs in one extended cycle is in our future.
EI: How do you view the future of liquid and dried egg production?
DL/EF: It is amazing to see how the further-processing of eggs has evolved. What started as an industry which used only surplus shell eggs has evolved into major segment of the North American food industry. We envisage an extension of this trend and expect that up to 50% of eggs will be used for this purpose. Of course, this increase would be partly as a result of extending the volume of exports.
As a breeding company, we are focused on both internal and external egg quality. We are fortunate that many of the characteristics the industry requires – shell quality, solid content levels among others – have relatively high heritability and that means we can improve each generation.
EI: Please share your unique perspectives on what we have achieved and where we may have erred as an industry over the past few years.
DL/EF: The egg industry has done an excellent job connecting with consumers and dealing with misperceptions about the health value inherent to eggs. Today, most consumers view eggs as a healthy, nutritional food compatible with daily use.
But there is more to be done. Eggs really are a “wonder” product with so many applications. We need to continue to educate consumers that eggs are produced in a safe, humane way which respects animals and the environment but at a price which everyone can afford. We have a compelling story to tell in this area.
EI: How can the industry improve product safety and quality?
DL/EF: Product safety and quality are the foundations of the business – without trust from the public, we would not survive. All of us in the industry, starting with Hendrix/ISA as primary breeders, need to remain vigilant and focus on biosecurity. Product safety requires a constant effort, following best practices.
EI: Are there any other topics you consider relevant or a message from Hendrix to the industry?
DL/EF: As the successor to renowned North American breeding companies in the past and the repository of their genetic lines, we understand the trust the industry has placed in ISA and our parent, Hendrix Genetics. We take our role very seriously and we are totally committed to the North American industry. Our goal is to grow with our customers and achieve prosperity together.