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When changes first become challenges and then new opportunities

The EPP Congress took place from 18-20 May 2022 in the Netherlands. 250 participants came together after a “pandemic-period” in order to re-start networking, get informed and o exchange knowledge. The congress was built around the topic “full chances ahead, in a rapidly changing environment”

In the symposium, Justin Sherrard of Rabobank noted that production in Spain would grow more slowly in 2022 than the last two years. He predicted that feed prices will remain high until 2023 and attributed this to the war in Ukraine and climate change. For him, sustainability and animal welfare continue to be megatrends to which the industry must respond. He sees the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the entire value chain as another major challenge.

In addition to these megatrends, Sheppard also sees the following current trends:

- More productivity and efficiency on farms, e.g. with the help of digitalisation.

- More (better) knowledge about the customer (consumer)

- More cooperation in the value chain

René Savelberg, former CEO at McDonalds and self-employed management consultant, concluded with a refreshing presentation of what else is important in addition to good products, intelligent marketing and qualified specialists in order to be able to provide optimal services. For him, changes first mean challenges, from which opportunities then arise. Charles Darwin already said that it is not the strongest who survive but those who can adapt best. Savelberg adapts the three key factors to this

- Standardisation (of processes and products)

- Partnerships ("Growth Partner")

- Strong team ("Powerhouse")

With the help of several examples, he impressively illustrated that a transformation process can succeed with these key factors.

On the two following days, the participants were able to get to know practical examples of transformation processes during the excursions to interesting companies as well as companies from the upstream and downstream sectors, which were intensively discussed afterwards.


Changes ahead for European pig production

Once again, cross-border exchange between farmers and advisors was demonstrated at the annual meeting of European pig farmers in Landshut, Bavaria. Opportunities were offered by the presentations and discussion panels with scientists, advisors and farmers, which dealt with the current challenges and framework conditions and inspired the 350 participants to reflect and rethink. The presentations, which will also shortly be published on the EPP homepage, were ultimately concerned with visions for sustainable pig production in the light of changes in Europe. 

One of the conclusions drawn at the congress was that this change will have to be dealt with jointly. Each link in the value-adding chain has the task of communicating with others in the chain in order to remain competitive. This particularly applies to communication with consumers. 

Current factors influencing the markets are geopolitical in nature and include the spread of swine fever, the trade dispute between China and the USA or the forthcoming Brexit, for instance. However, changes in consumer behaviour will also continue to influence the production of animal protein in Europe. Innovation, technological progress and know-how leadership are strategic objectives which European pig farming has to pursue to compete successfully on the global market.

The farm visits made it clear that this can be accomplished with regional focus, etc. A total of 14 different farms in the Landshut region were visited and toured during the excursion programme. The farm managers prepared for the visits with great commitment and proudly granted the international guests an insight into their farms. Ultimately, the presentations, the farm visits and the personal discussions gave the participants some new ideas to take home with them.

The EPP congress is organised in a different country each year. The next annual meeting is scheduled to take place from June 9th to 11th 2020 in the Netherlands, where the 30th anniversary of the European Pig Producers will also be celebrated.

Please find presentations of the speakers here:

Banse: Brexit
Bittlmayer: Local Characteristics of Pig Production in Germany and Bavaria
Gade Nielsen: Leading Danish Crown through a transformation
Langenberg: Visions of a pig farmer
Mees: Towards more animal welfare
Schmitz: European Pig Meat Production
Tenhagen: Consumer fears
 

EPP president Gert van Beek opens the 29th EPP Congress in Landshut to 350 participants (source: EPP)


EPP-Congress 2018: A tail’s length ahead

The Swiss EPP Branch is proud to invite the European Pig Farmers to the first EPP-Congress in Switzerland. The gathering 2018 is scheduled 30th May – 1st June in Sursee, located in the beautiful surrounding of Luzern.

Under the topic “A tail’s length ahead” the Swiss organizing committee provides a lot of information about animal welfare, animal health and the special pork market in Switzerland. Interesting speeches, Industry visits and Farm tours guarantee a diversified program for the participants. The Congress takes place at Campus Sursee, a modern seminar centre with more than 500 hotel rooms. 
Registration to the Congress will start in January 2018. As in previous years the organizers offer all EPP-Members a special registration period from 1st January – 28th February 2018. From 1st March also non-Members are welcome to register for the Congress.