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.
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.