European pig producers celebrate “30th” anniversary

Pig producers ready for the seminar day at the 2016 EPP Congress in Ireland. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Pig producers ready for the seminar day at the 2016 EPP Congress in Ireland. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek

In just about a month, the 30th anniversary of the European Pig Producers (EPP) will be celebrated at the annual congress and get-together, which will this year be held in the Netherlands, 18-20 May.

Like so many things, also the annual EPP congress suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to the European organisation actually celebrating its 32nd birthday in the year that the 30th will be held. This is why it is called “30+2,” explain Rosanne van Genugten-Vos and Mart Klijn, chairwoman and treasurer of the EPP’s Netherlands branch. Both are involved in the organisation’s event this year, held in Tiel, the Netherlands, which was postponed from 2020.

Networking opportunities for pig producers

In the Netherlands, all Covid-restrictions were lifted in March, which means that in 2022 the event can finally take place. The congress, for which pig producers from all over Europe are invited to participate, consists of one symposium day and 2 days in the field with relevant visits through the Dutch swine and agricultural industry, with in between plenty of opportunities for networking.

The participants all share an open mind, willingness to learn from each other and obviously a bit command of English. Van Genugten-Vos and Klijn explained, “This event is characterised by being in a trusted environment amongst each other. There will be a very relaxed atmosphere, and at the end of an event, people normally will have made friends for life.”

Pig producers from all over Europe

The EPP was founded in 1990 in Herning, Denmark. Nowadays, the majority of members are hailing from all over Europe, with an emphasis on North Western Europe. Apart from Denmark, many members own pig farms in e.g. the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The organisation consists of 70% pig producers and 30% members of the directly surrounding industry.

Traditionally, the event will start with a symposium day, for which various speakers have been contracted. This year’s theme is “Full chances ahead – in a rapidly changing environment.” The theme does not need much introduction, both organisers said, with challenges around like Covid-19, African Swine Fever and steeply rising raw materials, to name a few.

Currently in the line-up for the symposium day are:

  • Justin Sherrard, global strategist animal protein, Rabobank International
  • René Savelberg, previous CEO of McDonald’s Netherlands
  • Brad Heron, director of operations, pork division, Cherkizovo
  • Caroline van der Plas, member of parliament in the Netherlands on behalf of the BoerBurgerBeweging (literally the Farmer-Citizen-Movement)
During the EPP Congress traditionally there is time to take a look at how local producers work, like in 2006 in Slovenia. - Photo: Robert Bodde
During the EPP Congress traditionally there is time to take a look at how local producers work, like in 2006 in Slovenia. - Photo: Robert Bodde

Visits to trial farms in the Netherlands

The 2nd and 3rd day of the event are intended for practical visits. Each participant will be joining in a full day in the East of the Netherlands, and a full day in the South of the Netherlands. In the East, visits will be paid to the trial pig farm of young animal nutrition company Denkavit as well as Wageningen University and Research (WUR); whereas the visit to the south of the country will take delegates to visits to the HyCare farm by the Schippers Group, high-tech arable farmer Jacob van den Borne as well as beer brewery Bavaria – alternated with a typical Dutch activity: cycling.

For those interested, a post-congress day will be spent, in the horticultural fair Floriade, held every 10 years in the Netherlands. This takes place close to Almere.

The organisers hope that as from 2022 the congress can be held every year again, with a symposium in a different European country every year. Depending on the organising country, attendance has varied between 250 and 350 visitors. Initially only members are invited to register, but as the time to the congress draws closer, registration is also open to non-member pig producers.

Registration for the event on May 18-20 is still possible – the link also contains a detailed overview of the programme. Costs amount to € 495 per person, excluding travel and hotel costs.

ter Beek
Vincent ter Beek Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world


Beheer