Agri-Food Value Chains
The Agri-Food Value Chains course enables participants to develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of the Agri-Food Value Chain, its main components, and the linkages between them. It also examines the main trends, drivers, and issues within the chain, covering aspects from agriculture and its ancillary industries, through to food retailing and catering, with reference to market structure, government intervention, and international trade.
Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials that will be available to the participant permanently. There will be a series of online discussions and exercises. Contributions to the discussions will be monitored, and may form part of the assessment. Feedback and contributions from the course convenor or deliverer will be the main source of formative assessment.
This course would have a broad range of applicability to professionals within the agrifood sector, but particularly those involved in food manufacturing, processing, distribution, retail, and catering.
Livestock, Livelihoods and Food Security
This course will provide an in-depth overview of the livelihoods and food security issues deriving from farmed livestock across a global range of production systems. Focusing on the main classes of farmed livestock (dairy, beef, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry), you will explore the opportunities and challenges of keeping livestock as a means of acquiring and maintaining food security at a household, national, and global level.
This broad-ranging course will also see you investigate the impact of a range of other topics impacting on individual livelihoods and food security, including innovations in the value chains of specific livestock systems, the impact of climate change, and the role of cultural preferences and ethical concerns.
This course would be of direct importance to professionals working with livestock in any capacity, but also from those looking to understand the wider impact of livestock on an individual, local, regional, and international level.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is one of the most important topics in the current agrifood sector and has become a subject of debate for governments, major companies, and the general public. That is why the ‘What is Sustainability?’ course introduces participants to the latest research in Sustainability and the relevance of this topic across the food industries. Through online lectures and seminars, you will explore the different frameworks of sustainability, including economic, ethical and environmental measures, and a practical sense of when and how these frameworks should be applied.
The course is aimed at professionals in the agriculture, food and environmental related industries (including feed, veterinary pharmaceutical and breeding companies). This may also be suitable for those with careers in research and development, as well as in the advisory or extension sector. International and national corporations will both be able to use the knowledge provided in the course as well as research and higher education institutions in the governmental sector.
Assessments are designed to advance participants careers by developing and assessing the analytical and communication skills required by food or environmental industries. Projects are designed to be relevant to the participant's current employment. To ensures relevant research and questions are addressed, participants are encouraged to discuss particular projects with their employer.
Livestock Nutrition and Feeding
This course will introduce you to the role of farmed livestock in agricultural systems, and the importance of feed in managing the nutritional requirements of different classes of livestock. You will explore the variety of livestock feeds, including their manufacture and issues of food safety, and develop an understanding of how these can be used to meet the nutritional requirements of different livestock. Additionally, you will develop the ability to formulate diets for specific livestock, and the role of the feed industry in meeting these requirements.
This course would be particularly useful to those working in the livestock or feed industries, but also for producers or retailers looking to increase their understanding of their supply chain.
Contemporary Issues in Animal Science
This course is designed to introduce you to the latest research and contemporary practices in animal science, and the challenges and opportunities that this field faces in making livestock production sustainable in the 21st century.
Through online lectures and discussions, delivered through the University of Reading’s Virtual Learning Environment, the course will provide you an overview of the key issues, including producing healthy and safe animal-based foods; using fewer resources; and minimising negative environmental and health impacts associated with livestock production, while maintaining or enhancing the welfare status of the animal. You will explore the ways that animal science offers solutions to each of these problems, and the practical tools that can be developed from advances in scientific research.
After completing the course, you will have developed a well-rounded knowledge of animal science, its latest advances, and the ways that these can be applied to current problems facing livestock production in the UK and beyond. This would be of obvious practical use to those working with livestock at any point in the supply chain, but would also be of benefit to any industry professionals looking to develop their understanding of animal science and its role in modern livestock production systems.
Sustainable Livestock Production Systems
The Sustainable Livestock Production Systems course will explore a range of different livestock production systems and the opportunities and challenges of implementing sustainable practices. Through eight weeks of interactive, online sessions and discussions, delivered through the University of Reading’s Virtual Learning Environment, you will develop a detailed understanding of environmental, social, and economic factors associated with sustainability across a range of livestock sectors.
After completing the course you will have an excellent understanding of sustainability factors impacting livestock production systems and will be able to identify specific issues relating to pig, poultry, dairy, and ruminant meat production systems. This will be of particular use to professionals working with livestock and looking to develop sustainability, but would also be relevant to anyone across the food industry looking to increase their understanding of these topics.