The 2019 Next Generation Dairying Workshop was held last November at the Moredun Institute, Edinburgh and addressed the theme of “Local and Global Consumers”.
Edinburgh, 25th and 26th November 2019
Plenary speakers from different dairy research disciplines addressed the topic from the perspectives of production, primary product and processed product, all with a view to meeting the needs of consumers. Donagh Berry from the VistaMilk project in Ireland focused on pasture based dairying, and was followed by John Newbold (SRUC Dumfries) who spoke about the nutritional benefits of milk and Alan Kelly (University College, Cork) who described modern processing approaches to maximising the quality of dairy products. The industry perspective of dairy products for consumer needs (at home and overseas in developing countries) was addressed by Anna Talach and Lea Brader (Arla Foods), Paul Grant (Chair, Dairy Growth Board) and Zoë Kavanagh (CEO; National Dairy Council). There was universal praise for the quality of the presentations, and an overall feeling of optimism for the future development of the Scottish dairy sector and its engagement with global markets.Research quality was not restricted to the Plenary speakers: the five Small Grant Projects funded by the Hannah Dairy Research Foundation were previewed, and Open Submission sessions featured the work of younger dairy researchers. Scottish research from SRUC, Moredun, Roslin and Glasgow University figured prominently, allied with collaborative research involving Scotland (Strathclyde University) and Spain (UA Barcelona) and international research from Greece, Italy and Lithuania that included innovative dairy production from sheep and donkeys. Innovation was also the theme for the FarmerPreneur Panel of local dairy farmers who collectively described their experiences of engaging with local consumers through doorstep deliveries, social media channels, environmentally-conscious production and packaging, diversification and novel products, including buffalo mozzarella. Once again, the scientific and farmer presentations were very well received and an air of enthusiasm and appetite for the future prevailed, alongside a clear recognition of the need to avoid complacency and invest in knowledge, infrastructure, production capacity and consumer engagement. In this context, it was gratifying that the Workshop was able to introduce the three new Food and Dairy Innovation Centres planned for Scotland, at Kilmarnock, Dumfries and Aberdeen were featured. The Next Generation Dairying Workshops are held in collaboration with the Journal of Dairy Research, and all of the abstracts and presentations are available online at https://www.journalofdairyresearch.org/next-generation-dairying-2019.htmlAdding to the undoubted success of the formal sessions, delegates had plenty of opportunity for networking in poster sessions and at the Workshop Dinner which was held at the Whisky Experience on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. This was a very enjoyable and successful evening that presented an opportunity for Marie Haskell (SRUC) to address another very important feature of consumer engagement, dairy animal welfare. Her after-dinner talk was a superb mix of cutting-edge science and practical advice which, allied with all the excellent formal sessions, left delegates with a strong desire to continue the series of Next Generation Dairying Workshops in 2020 and beyond.