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Insights, Special Edition - Where It Happens

By Kirk A. Augustine
August, 2012
The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor helps us feed a growing world.

Distributor sales representatives (DSRs) often lament lacking something new to sell for several months or longer. Rest easy. I can attest to the fact that:

1. New things are coming

2. Scientists worldwide are investigating methods and solutions to livestock production needs

3. Managing animal disease more effectively than we do now is within reach

 

Finally, I have no doubt that many of these innovations will come from ideas, work and investments that originate in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC).

Business, educational, scientific and government organizations have joined to cultivate a climate of opportunity for companies competing in and supporting the animal health and nutrition industries. Those with primary roles in the initiative include the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Missouri Technology Corporation and the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

The effort represents an area that stretches west to east from Manhattan, Kan., to Columbia, Missouri, and north to south from Maryville, Missouri, to Emporia, Kan.

This region has become the national leader in animal health and nutrition. In fact, Kansas City area companies account for about 32 percent of sales in the $19 billion global animal health market.

KCAHC celebrated its seventh year of operation in August with its annual Homecoming. Nearly 800 persons attended the networking event hosted by Craig Wallace, CEO of Ceva Holdings, Inc. The get-together was literally made up of the who’s who, who’s done it andwho will be doing it experts in our industry. All of them celebrated individual successes, new companies and growth in the KCAHC.

 

Innovation encouraged

Three years ago, KCAHC began a collaboration designed to gather support for innovations and new opportunities in animal health. The Animal Health Investment Forum is a pitch session for entrepreneurs who seek early and mid-stage funding and support. Ideas and solutions presented since its inception have generated more than $60 million, organizers say.

This year’s investment forum featured 13 companies with ideas from cow-side detection of sub-clinical mastitis infections to hairball treatments in cats, even non-invasive drug delivery options and progressive oncology treatment platforms. The presentation format allows presenters only 12 minutes to pitch their full concepts with needs ranging from $500,000 to more than $12 million.

In addition to these presentations, guest speakers discussed the dynamics of innovation, capitalization efforts, challenges to food production and the necessity for technology to provide production efficiencies, especially in food production.

Dr. Bill Weldon with Elanco Animal Health underscored challenges we ALL face in his presentation, The Role of Animal Health in Feeding the World, with the numerals 50, 100 and 70. They’re shorthand for estimates from the United Nations which translate to:

By 2050, we’ll need 100 percent more food and 70 percent of it must come from efficiency enhancing technologies.

As Jim Whitt noted on page 39 of our summer issue, “It’s up to us aggies to feed the world.”

He’s right. We have a lot to achieve in the next 30-plus years. For many of us, Kansas City has played a strong role in our personal and career development. One of my earliest memories of selling calves was a long trip in an old truck to the Kansas City Stockyards a half century ago. It’s also where I took my first, official job in animal health.

For my youthful mind and career aspirations, Kansas City was the happening place to go. It still is.

Topics: Industry Insights

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