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Finding ways out of the crisis together – on an international and regional level

From 17-20 May 2023, EPP members will head to Seville, Spain, to learn about the framework conditions and prospects for pig farming there. Spain is currently the largest pork producer in Europe and will continue to expand this position in the coming months. So it is high time for the EPP club to gather information first-hand and on-site once again after the last visit in 2005.

Whereas back in 2005 the participants were in the pig stronghold of Catalonia, next year they will have the opportunity to exchange information about the conditions and possibilities in Andalusia. A highlight will certainly be the tour of the Iberico pig farms in the region.

EPP President Gert van Beek and EPP Manager Sven Häuser were on-site September 2022 to look at the possible locations and to exchange ideas with the local partners. The aim will also be to invite interested Spanish and Portuguese producers to Seville in order to exchange experiences with colleagues from other countries. "Learn from each other" is one of the guiding principles that have characterized the club and its members for over 30 years now. Especially in times of crisis, this is more important than ever.

Production for a regional market in Hesse

This also applies at national level. In mid-September, more than 50 members of the German EPP group met in northern Hesse to see for themselves the regional characteristics of pig production. In addition to the extremely interesting farms of the Hofmeier family in Hofgeismar and Kornmann family in Romrod, the participants had the opportunity to visit a newly built regional slaughterhouse.

All three plants have in common that they have made considerable investments in the future in the recent past.

The animal welfare barn of the Hofmeier farm, which was designed and built according to high welfare standard, has an automated straw bedding system that regularly brings fresh bedding to the pigs.

The Kornmann sow farm, on the other hand, has invested in a new farrowing house with movement pens, in which partial automation in the area of house cleaning plays an important role.

Butcher slaughtering on a wage basis

The Helwig regional slaughterhouse was recently built in Schwalmstadt "on a green field" and slaughters 5,000 pigs per week in accordance with the highest EU standards. The pigs all come from the North Hesse region and most of them go to regional animal welfare programs of the food retail trade (LEH). The "Ahle Wurst", known as a North Hessian specialty, is also produced there.

Another special feature is that the slaughterhouse also offers contract butchering. Pig farmers can register their ready-for-slaughter domestic pigs for slaughter, deliver them and, a short time later, take back the roughly cut cuts for further processing at home. "We have always done this and will continue to offer it at the new slaughterhouse," says managing director Claus Helwig.