Ruud Tijssens

Director Corporate Affairs, Agrifirm Group

Ruud spent ten years in the European dairy industry before moving to the animal feeds industry in 2001, first with CCL and later with CHV.L-BB.  When that firm merged with Agrifirm in 2010, he became Director Public & Cooperative, and is responsible for CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility) for the combined companies.  He was President of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation until June 2017 and, since 2012, has chaired a research consortium formed by the Dutch feed industry, Wageningen University and the Dutch Government.

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From global to local – the move towards European self-sufficiency for animal feeds

For decades Europe’s animal feed producers have relied heavily on soy beans sourced from Central and South America for the cost effective proteins they need.  Today, however, consumer concerns about tropical deforestation associated with soy production and a growing enthusiasm for local sourcing is encouraging the industry to ask a fundamental question: can Europe be self-sufficient in the production of protein for animal feeds?  Ruud’s presentation suggests that it is possible, but that it will call for investment, innovation and a balanced approach.

  • How did we get here? Why Europe has a thirty-year development gap in protein production and how innovation can be accelerated
  • The future for soy? Evidence from Agrifirm’s own production fields suggests that Europe is close to the tipping point for economically viable soy production
  • What else can we feed? Why soy is not the only answer and what other protein sources hold most promise
  • How fast are we moving? With Europe’s retailers enforcing regional sourcing producers are coming under pressure
  • What is Europe anyway? Why if Europe must be self-sufficient we have to define terms and understand the political agenda’