Bach Laursen said he thought of himself as being an optimist, something he needed when he looked at the current situation in European pig production.
He mentioned that estimates from Great Britain have learned that the number of sows will drop below 400,000 in 2009.
In Denmark, he continued, almost 1,100 colleagues of his were expected to go out of business in 2009, which was 15% of the total number of pig producers. According to predictions by Danish slaughterhouses, the total amount of pigs slaughtered throughout Europe might be 3-4% less in 2009.
Legislation & GMO
"What is happening?," Bach Laursen wondered aloud. Mentioning tight legislation in the European Union countries, and also the fact that European Union producers are not allowed to use genetically modified feed, he went on to say that producers in Europe face much higher production costs than anywhere else in the world. Future pork imports could become a real threat in that sense.
In his view, the general public in Europe does not know enough about what exactly the European pig producers makes so special. "We need to tell our fellow citizens about that in order to keep our production going, which ensures good animal welfare and food safety."
Pig production in the future
The European pig producers' meeting welcomed Dr Manfred Kern from Bayer CropScience. He gave a presentation called 'Global trends of the food industry and the impact on pig production'. He emphasised that, in order to understand the future, one has to realise many ingredients are inter-related – like the influence of the price of oil on agricultural business.
Pig farmer of 2008
Three pig producers were awarded the title 'pig farmer of 2008'. Kristof and Angelique Verschelde-Dobbels from the city of Nevele in Flanders, Belgium, received the title for their modern and high-health two-site farm with a total of 700 sows and two times 3,000 fatteners.
Prize winners from the Netherlands were Henry and Nelly van Asten, who have expanded their business over the years in two major sites in the Netherlands (Helmond and Horst) and also into several places in Germany, trying to match many sustainability and quality goals.
Thirdly, the family Stegemann from the German Münsterland area received the prize, for their 3,000 fattener business, using a Farmer Automatic system for slurry separation and possible reuse through heating.
• Farmer Automatic
• European Union
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