Today on the podcast we have a different kind of guest! We have the incredible Dr. Roswitha Baumung who currently works at the Division for Animal Production and Health of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
Roswitha has always had a passion for animals. She studied Agriculture and completing her pHD on Animal breeding and genetics. "I was especially interested in the genetics of small populations". After a scientific career at University, she began a helping farmers in her home country, Austria, set up breeding programmes for rare breeds.
Now she works for the FAO, working with all of the breeds around the world. Roswitha works in a team of three and is responsible for looking at the diversity of our livestock breeds.
In her role she supports countries by implementing breeding plans to preserve the genetic diversity of the population amongst many other things.
Mark and Roswitha discuss the importance of maintaining a native population to deal with shifting climate conditions. She says in some developing countries, she has seen a shift in species that specialise in harder conditions, aka going from sheep farming to camel farming!
"We need animals that are resilient, that recover fast after a [weather] event." And it's not just an environmental shift, it's also a consumer shift.
Mark asks is there is a secret gene bank full of the worlds animal genetics, like there is with seeds, but alas there is not. Roswitha does mention "cryoconservation" though, which you can read more about here
This podcast is a fantastic insight of the bigger picture thinking when it comes to the future of livestock breeding.
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