SusAn Final Conference

A successful finalisation for the ERA-NET SusAn  

"EU Sustainable Animal production - Moving towards the future"


It was a pleasure to welcome over 100 participants on 25th and 26th January 2022 at the Final Conference of the ERA-NET SusAn, entitled “EU Sustainable Animal production - Moving towards the future”. ERA-NET SusAn looks back on six years of successful collaboration among 39 partners from 22 countries and regions well balanced throughout Europe. Through the quality of its research cooperation, SusAn has become a landmark of transnational research. The launch of three successful calls and the development of a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda are among the impressive outcome of this intense collaboration. The results and recommendations were presented during this two-days final conference.

During the first day, the history and the achievements of SusAn and the respective projects from the cofunded Call were presented. The second day of the conference focused on the future of livestock production in relation to the new requirements of the EU Green Deal and the related EU strategies.

Please follow this link to the Agenda of the two-days SusAn Final Conference: Final Conference Agenda 


25 January 2022

The final conference started with a welcome word from:

Dr. Hanns-Christoph Eiden, BLE President: Dr. Hanns-Christoph Eiden has been President of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) in Bonn, Germany since 2010. Before taking up his position at BLE, he spent 23 years at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in various functions, in particular a leading position for European and international affairs.

Dr. Elke Saggau, BLE, Coordinator SusAn: Dr. Elke Saggau is Head of the Division “European Research Affairs” at BLE in Bonn, Germany. Since 2009 she coordinates transnational programmes and projects in the field of food and agriculture along the entire added-value chain. On European level she is an active member of the SCAR (Standing Committee on Agriculture Research) and the chair of the SCAR Foresight group.

Cindy Schoumacher, Project Officer, DG RTD: Cindy Schoumacher is a Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG RTD, Unit B2 Bioeconomy & Food Systems and is the COMs Project Officer of the ERA-NET SusAn. She is working on Food 2030 and more specifically on agriculture-related aspects, dietary shift and alternative proteins, as well as the climate aspects of food systems. She is knowledgeable about European agricultural and environmental economics and policies, climate change, marine issues and biodiversity.

After the welcome, an overview of all activities implemented by SusAn were presented via a slideshow. The slideshow was created by Marijke Hunninck from ILVO, as work package leader of communication in this ERA-NET. Watch this nice overview at

In a Questions and Answers Session, Jean-Charles Cavitte (DG Agri, European Commission) and the Chair of the CWG SAP, Bernhard Polten reflected about the reasons - at that time - to implement an ERA-NET on Sustainable animal production and the expectations associated with the ERA-NET. They also talked about how the results can be used in the future. Also, SusAn partners gave us an insight on their motivations and expectations to join SusAn and the national and transnational benefits arised from this participation.

 The SusAn partners that took part in this session were:

  • Ireland: Raymond Kelly, Teagasc
  • Spain: Guy Vancanneyt, INIA-CSIC
  • Turkey: H. Mahur Turan, TUBITAK
  • Italy: Serenella Puliga, MIPAAF
  • Poland: Mateusz Skutnik, NCBR

Watch this session at

After this very informative session, the coordinators of the 14 projects funded via the cofunded call of SusAn, gave a key message on the most relevant outcome of their research project for future R&I.

From mid-2017 to mid-2021, 14 research consortia with more than 100 researchers from over 20 countries worked to gain new insights in the field of sustainable animal production. During the project lifetime, they achieved important and useful results, which can now be exploited at European and national level. You can watch the key message of each project here: and

Project acronym

Project title


Name of organisation/institution/company


Holistic Production to Reduce the Ecological Footprint of Meat

Sinan Ogun

Turin University, Italy


Improving pig system performance through a whole system approach

Abozar Nasirahmadi

University of Kassel (UniKassel); Germany


Steering Animal Production Systems towards  Sustainable Future

Francesco Accatino

Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRAE); France


Sustainable pig production systems

Sabine Dippel

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI); Germany


Biodiversity within and between European Red dairy breeds - conservation through utilization

Dirk Hinrichs, UniKassel

University of Kassel, Germany


Sustainable Sheep Production

Sean Fair

University of Limerick; Ireland


Understanding trade-offs between health and efficiency to improve competitiveness and sustainability of animal production by breeding and management

Marie-Hélène Pinard-van der Laan

Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRAE); France


PEGaSus (Phosphorus efficiency in Gallus gallus and Sus scrofa): Bridging the gaps in the phosphorus value chain

Prof Klaus Wimmers

Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Germany


Increasing productivity, resource efficiency and product quality to increase the economic competitiveness of forage and grazing based cattle production systems

Prof Håvard Steinshamn

The Norwegian Insitute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO); Norway


Sustainability of pig production through improved feed efficiency

Dr Wendy Rauw

Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA); Spain


Co-definition and evaluation of SUSTAINable BEEF farming systems based on resources non edible by humans

Dr Sylvain Hennart

Walloon Agricultural Research Center; Belgium



Dr Giovanni Formato

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana 'M.Aleandri'; Italy


Develop economic sound free walk farming systems elevating animal welfare, health and manure quality, while being appreciated by society

Abele Kuipers

Wageningen University, The Netherlands


Sustainability in pork production with immunocastration

Prof Volker Stefanski

University of Hohenheim; UHOH; Germany


In the break-out sessions the coordinators, partners, funders and stakeholders discussed on:

  1. Impact of the projects with regard to stakeholders, policy and society
  2. Progress in science: contribution and gaps​
  3. Lessons learned: thematic & administrative

At the end of the first day Matthieu Frijlink Manager of the Cattle Information Desk / Scientific Advisor Cattle farming at ILVOleaded through a virtual visit at ILVO showing their test facilities, stables and barns. He gave a brief overview of relevant expertise, analyses, infrastructure, and the professional approach that characterizes ILVO.

Specialized research infrastructure:

  • Modern experimental dairy barn (built in 2014) with space for 140 lactating cows, calves and heifers
  • 74 RIC feeders for registration of individual feed uptake
  • 6 rooms to measure gas exchange and 2 Greenfeed devices to study (greenhouse) gas emissions (methane, nitrous oxide, CO2, and ammonia)
  • Mobile Greenfeeds for emissions research at pasture
  • Devices in the barn to measure ammonia emissions under natural ventilation
  • Research barn to measure ammonia emissions under conditions with straw bedding

More information can be found at


26 January 2022

The second day of the SusAn Final Conference started with conclusions from the break-out sessions of the cofunded call projects, that took place the day before. Four coordinators summarized the outcome of the break-out groups related to the impact of the projects, the status of research and future research needs and the lessons learned.

  • Group 1 on Evaluation of sustainability with ECOLAMB, PIGSYS, ANIMAL FUTURE, SUSPIGSYS was presented by Francesco Accatino, INRAE, France
  • Group 2 on The right animal for the right system: REDIVERSE, SUSSHEEP, SUSTRADEOFF was presented by Sean Fair, University of Limerick; Ireland
  • Group 3 on Managing efficiency: PEGASUS, SUSCATT, SUSPIG, SUSTAINBEEF was presented by Wendy Rauw, INIA, Spain
  • Group 4 on Animal health and welfare: BPRACTICE, FREEWALK, SUSI was presented by Volker Stefanski, UHOH, Germany

Watch this session at:

In the subsequent session, opportunities for future SusAn collaboration and networking were presented. Stefan Vetter and Nina Radl from BMLRT gave an overview of the results of the survey on self-sustainability and future opportunities. It was highlighted, that most of the SusAn members were in favour of continuing the collaboration. Even though the extent of collaboration is still to be discussed. Watch this session at:

A presentation of the Literature Review, which was made as part of the basis for the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda was given by Vivi H. Nielsen, AU. It covers research on different European livestock production systems and also key topics such as new protein sources, circularity, Lifecycle assessment and system approaches.  

One main outcome of SusAn, the Common Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda was presented by Jean-Louis Peyraud, INRAE and Arnd Bassler, BLE. The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda will guide to more Sustainable Animal production in Europe considering most important farm animal species.

Watch this session at:


The Final Conference continued with three keynote speeches:

  • Farm to Fork presented by Kerstin Rosenow, Head of Unit ‘Research & Innovation’ in DG AGRI, European Commission
  • Foresight presented by Gianluca Brunori, Full Professor at the University of Pisa responsible for Food Policy and Bioeconomy and,
  • Global dynamic in livestock presented by Badi Besbes (FAO),Senior Animal Production Officer, Head of the Animal Production and Genetics Branch of the FAO Animal Production and Health Division.

Dr Kerstin Rosenow presented the main items and goals of the Farm to Fork strategy and the link and the possible consequences for the Livestock sector in Europe. The requirements of the Green Deal and its related strategies “Farm to Fork” and “Biodiversity” will increase the pressure on the livestock sector on national, EU and global level. In addition, the requirements of the Paris climate agreement and the consideration of the SDGs will have impact on the primary sector, in particular on the livestock production. Of course, there is also the question of animal welfare and consumer acceptance and whether farmers can even meet these requirements

Dr Gianluca Brunori presented the starting point for the 5th SCAR Foresight (SDGs, Climate Agreement, Safe and just operating space), followed by the 3 needed transition pathways and the impact on livestock production to achieve the goals. Within the ERA NET SusAn a Strategic Research Agenda was developed with the aim to meet the goals of the SDGs and the Paris climate agreement. In conclusion, livestock should remain part of agriculture and circularity, but in a more balanced way. Within the 5th SCAR Foresight, 3 transition pathways are described - Healthy and safe diets, need for more circularity and more biodiversity. In order to meet these, a transformation of the agriculture sector, especially of the livestock sector is required. This also corresponds to the goals of the Farm to Fork strategy aiming for less fertilizer application and more organic farming to achieve more sustainability (more circularity and more diversity). The Farm to Fork strategy is in line with the Foresight results.

Dr Badi Besbes presented the work of the FAO in the livestock sector on an international level in relation to the EU level. Furthermore, he gave an outlook / “future assessment” for livestock in Europe.

The European livestock production is directly connected to the international level. Watch this session at:

A highlight of the Final Conference was the panel discussion with high level participants:

  • Kerstin Rosenow from European Commission, DG AGRI
  • Gianluca Brunori, Chair of SCAR Foresight Expert Group
  • Frank O’Mara, President ATF
  • Badi Besbes, FAO
  • Jan Arnouts, farmer
  • Thomas Duffy, Vice President of CEJA & farmer
  • Anna-Karin Modin-Edman, Arla Foods

They discussed the needed transition pathways for the livestock sector in Europe based on the requirements from different perspectives. Thus taking into account the challenges of the EU Green Deal and the related EU-Strategies. Watch this session at:

Closing remarks given by the SusAn coordinator

  • Livestock is a part of Agriculture, circularity and our cultural landscape
  • Due to climate change and also to the requirements of consumers regarding animal welfare a transition of livestock production towards more sustainable and a balance livestock production is needed
  • Research is one key issue to support such transition and systems approach is one suitable approach to tackle better with existing trade-offs. In addition, it is necessary to connect to other sectors/areas and disciplines and connect to other areas and sectors in an even wider approach
  • To realize these aims, a multi-actor approach is important. All actors of the added value chain have to be included in the process of transition
  • Networks like the ERA-NET SusAn are extremely important to unite different actors, to conduct cross-border research, and to give advice to Member States and the COM
  • The SusAn network can raise future research questions for a more sustainable and balanced livestock production in Europe

Many thanks to the guest speakers, panellists, research project coordinators, SusAn partners and the audience for fruitful discussions and comments. Special thanks to Karen Coleman, journalist and broadcaster from Ireland, who successfully facilitated the Final Conference.