The 37th edition of SPACE was held from Tuesday 12 to Thursday 14 September at the Rennes Exhibition Centre, featuring 1,207 exhibitors. Among them, 241 were exhibiting at SPACE for the first time and 365 were international companies from 39 different countries. These exhibitors welcomed 90,771 visitors, including 12,125 international visitors from 122 countries. Overall, these figures reflect a 23% increase in the number of international visitors, as well as a record number of countries represented.
The three-day Exhibition, which took place in a warm and positive atmosphere, reflects the healthy economic situation of the farming industry, but also its concerns regarding the future, as production volumes for beef, milk, pork and poultry are falling. At the same time, consumer demand for quality food at affordable prices has never been higher. The three days of intense activity were therefore more necessary than ever for all those involved in the dynamics of animal farming, to allow them to address these issues, to alert political leaders to this unprecedented situation and to reflect together on solutions for the future. Once again, SPACE exercised its role to the full as a high-quality event that is vital for the future of animal farming. As the geopolitical context becomes increasingly unstable, it is essential that we do not develop a tendency to depend on third countries to fill our plates.
Energy as a major theme
This edition was also dedicated to energy. This central theme of SPACE was explored in numerous discussions, conferences and debates. It was the focus of the Espace for the Future organised by the Chambers of Agriculture. This area, which was redesigned for this year’s edition, provided SPACE visitors with all the necessary information to help them reduce their energy bills and diversify their activities around the opportunities offered by this market. Photovoltaics, wind power, mechanisation, biomass... there are many avenues to explore and keeping informed is essential to maintain a profitable balance with the farm's main production. At a time when strategic decisions need to be taken to meet the dual challenge of energy and food sovereignty, SPACE was a key opportunity to prepare for the future in this area. The new Experts' Area within the Espace for the Future provided animal farmers with very practical and useful information on subjects such as fuel consumption, hydrogen, reducing energy consumption in buildings, the law on renewable energies, etc.
Innovation is one of the hallmarks of SPACE, and exhibitors' enthusiasm for the Innov'SPACE label remains undiminished. A total of 118 applications were submitted and were rigorously examined by a jury of over 50 members. 37 companies were awarded one or two stars depending on the degree of interest of the farmer or end user. Four winners received the special three-star distinction: Kverneland Group France’s Pudama, which applies fertiliser to each individual seed; Leretrif Rossard Bâtiment’s Watt’N’Wall, which consists of prefabricated walls for pigsties equipped with a hydraulic network to heat part of the space; and finally Mastaplex’s Mastatest and Zoetis’s Vetscan MastiGram+, both of which diagnose mastitis quickly, so the animals affected can be treated more efficiently.
The World of Animal Farming, a record number of countries attended
SPACE attracted an unprecedented number of international visitors, with 122 countries represented by the 12,125 visitors who came to Brittany looking for solutions to help them develop or improve their farms. The many delegations from Africa (Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Senegal, Togo, etc.) confirmed their growing interest in the solutions presented at SPACE to help them achieve food sovereignty. BPI’s official participation encourages our companies to open up and develop their business in these new markets. Top buyers, invited to SPACE as part of Business France’s “Export Begins in France” programme, were fascinated by the diversity and quality of the products and services offered by SPACE exhibitors. These investors and leading companies in their own countries, came from Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Romania, Tunisia and Turkey to find new technologies in the fields of hygiene, health, genetics and breeding equipment at the Exhibition.
The European Association of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ) also took part in this year's edition and held its Annual General Meeting there.
Once again this year, the World of Animal Farming played to its full potential in Rennes, despite many professionals being unable to come due to visa refusals. This year saw an even greater number of such cases. A large number of applications were refused, particularly in India, Algeria, West Africa, etc., which has a significant impact on potential or existing business flows between France and the rest of the world.
The Youth Forum and the Tech’Agri Challenge
Once again this year, SPACE focused its attention on young people, highlighting the value of animal farming trades in order to further boost their attractiveness. The Youth Forum welcomed around a hundred students each day to discuss their concerns: the path to setting up a business, time devoted to holidays, income, the ability to maintain agriculture-related employment, internships, etc. A wall displaying job and internship offers, as well as a job dating event, also provided young visitors with concrete opportunities to build their future.
The first Tech'Agri Challenge by Innov'Space was organised this year. HND and engineering students from the agricultural and digital sectors reflected on and developed technical solutions to issues encountered by farmers (digital identification cards for cattle, automated headlocks for remote opening, etc.).
This new project, initiated by Bretagne Développement Innovation and Innozh and supported by SPACE, was a great success and demonstrated the skills of the new generation in coming up with innovative and practical solutions to improve working conditions for farmers.
The closing ceremony, organised for the first time by the Young Farmers of Brittany, was another great opportunity to bring together its members to enjoy a convivial evening.
SPACE continues to offer its participants knowledge-rich content in the hundred or so conferences included in its programme. Together, these presentations are what make SPACE a unique platform for the development and progress of the animal farming industry. This dimension was confirmed once again this year.
The genetic showcase
SPACE is a unique showcase for dairy and suckler breed presentations and competitions. 500 cattle from 13 different breeds provided a continuous spectacle in the main ring during the three-day Exhibition. This year’s edition of the Genetics Show featured two major events: the National Charolais Breed Competition and the European Simmental Breed Challenge. Ten other inter-regional competitions and genetic presentations complemented the programme. The “Meat Excellence” beef cattle auction, dedicated entirely to suckler breeds, and the inter-breed “Genomic Elite Auction”, a unique event in Europe, dedicated to dairy and mixed breeds, were a great success. SPACE also featured a large number of sheep, with 120 animals from 10 different breeds. Competitions and the Sheep Olympics were held throughout the day, with 136 young learners taking part.
For the second year running, the 32,000 litres of milk collected at SPACE will be donated to the Food Banks via SOLAAL, whose 10th anniversary we celebrated.
SPACE 2023: a political highlight for animal farming
SPACE’s key role in the start of the new agricultural policy season was further accentuated this year with the launch of the Exhibition by the French Minister for Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc FESNEAU, the visit of Denise BAUER, Ambassador of the United States, the conference on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by Véronique DREZET-HUMET, Head of Representation of the European Commission in France, followed by her tour of the Exhibition stands, and the meeting of the Agricultural Commission for the French Regions meeting chaired by Loïg CHESNAIS-GIRARD, President of the Brittany Region, who addressed young people with the following message: “Tomorrow you will be at the heart of Europe’s food strategy”. Ms. Arooj MEHWISH RIZVI, Trade and Investment Counsellor at the Embassy of Pakistan in France, also met a number of people involved in cattle farming on behalf of her country, which is the world's fourth-largest dairy producer.
The 37th edition of SPACE, with its abundance of opportunities to meet and share ideas, its highly committed exhibitors, and its dynamic and enthusiastic visitors all keen to maintain and develop animal farming in our regions and around the world, was a fantastic platform for all these players to find the keys to feeding the world's 10 billion people in the next 30 years, in an increasingly carbon-free economy.
We look forward to seeing you at SPACE 2024: from Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 September.
Find out more about the SPACE 2023 highlights and the latest news from the Exhibition on the
Download the press release - Balance of SPACE 2023