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2014 Alltech 30th annual Symposium looks to the future

Alltech's annual Symposium brought forth questions and answers. Dr. Aoife Lyons, Dr. Pearse Lyons, Dr. Mark Lyons
Alltech's annual Symposium brought forth questions and answers. Dr. Aoife Lyons, Dr. Pearse Lyons, Dr. Mark Lyons
Diana De Rosa Photo

Alltech’s annual Symposium which is taking place now in Lexington, KY, focuses on education but also honors those who deserve our appreciation.

Mark Lyons talking at Alltech's annual Symposium
Diana De Rosa Photo

Each year they honor an individual with The Medal of Excellence. This year it was given posthumously to a man who created what is known as the green revolution.

Dr. Norman Borlaug’s granddaughter, Julie Borlaug Larson, Ph.D., Associate Director for External Relations Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, was there to accept this award.

In researching more about Dr. Borlaug the best description came from Wikipedia as follows:

“Norman Ernest Borlaug (March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009) was an American biologist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate who has been called the father of the Green Revolution, agriculture's greatest spokesperson and The Man Who Saved A Billion Lives. He is one of seven people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honor.”

Just before being presented with this award the screen showed images of Dr. Borlaug through his lifetime of travels. Those images showed how focused he was in educating people throughout the world on healthy living. Clearly he was the perfect recipient of this award.

Dr. Lyons offers some compelling advice through quotes and inspirational comments

After watching those images of how important it is to go green, Mark Lyons then introduced the founder of Alltech and his father Dr. Pearse Lyons.

“Innovation is the child of curiosity,” began Mark. He talked about his dad as a man who is a true innovator and with that Dr. Lyons took hold of the mike and the room.

“How do you remove those energy vampires who say no, no, no,” said Dr. Lyons as he began his presentation. “If you do get it going, get it going with passion, with purpose.”

He then zeroed in to what he called TIP – Transformation, Inspiration, Passion. These are the qualities needed for success in whatever you are doing

“If you’ve got passion you can move mountains. If you’ve got passion you can bring others with you to move mountains,” he added.

He then talked about the Young Scientist contest they had where 8,500 students entered for a prize of $10,000, which is the same amount of money he started Alltech with.

Dr. Lyons jumped from topic to topic zeroing in on the many things Alltech is up to these days from a new Eastern Kentucky Project center that is being built in that part of the state to their sponsorship of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to the fact that they are now moving into Phase 2 of their Alzheimer’s trials.

Then he commented, “What if we could transform the health of our children,” and gave as part of that solution DHA, a long-chain fatty acid, which belongs to the Omega-3 fatty acid family. Today you can find DHA in milk, eggs and other products.

Tests have shown that when the diets of children with below average reading were supplemented with DHA, they slept better, their reading improved and their oppositional behavior decreased in just 16 weeks of DHA supplementation. What better way to improve the health of our children then focusing on nutrition rather than medication.

Yet another point he made was that studies have shown that a high percentage of all the diseases we know of today are caused by inflammation.

Dr. Lyons continued talking about all the possibilities that are available to us and how we as a nation need to focus on how we can improve the quality of our food by having each piece of food contain more powerful ingredients.

He used fish oil as one example noting that studies have shown that algae can help supplement our diets so that we don’t have to eat as much fish or take supplements. By adding algae into some of the foods we eat we can improve the balance of the supplements they contain.

Then he talked about the next generation or the millennial generation, which more and more studies show are looking for a purpose, rather than for a job. With that in mind he talked about creating a Lyons Den and making $500,000 available annually to encourage follow through on ideas, since our youth often have great ideas.

The focus turned to Africa. “We take America from our pocket and we drop it into Africa and we take China from our other pocket and we drop it into Africa.”

And then came the topic and the potential use of drones in farming and in other ways.

For Dr. Lyons it’s all about harnessing enthusiasm and focusing it in the right direction. “If you can harness the enthusiasm then there is nothing that can stop you.”

With the needs of the world changing so is Alltech’s outlook.

By the time Dr. Lyons concluded his speech, which essentially was giving a birdseye view to all the upcoming speeches, it was clear that this symposium was about leading us into a better future by educating us on the issues we all face.

“We need to sometimes open the book and show people what they are doing. My mom used to say that common sense is the rarest used sense out there. If there is something proving that something might have a problem then stop using it. Commonsense will let you know when you shouldn't be doing some things.

His final quote of “if we can feed the roots we are going to create stronger plants,” has both a literal and figurative meaning that we should all look at more closely.

Alltech is the proud sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, France. For more information visit

For more about Alltech’s 30th Annual International Symposium visit their web site at For twitter feeds go to #AGFuture.

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