At the General Assembly of the European Pig Producers (EPP) e.V. in Sursee (Switzerland) on 1 June 2018, the members elected Gert van Beek (51) from the Netherlands as their new President. He won the election in a secret ballot ahead of his fellow candidate Hugh McReynolds (56) from Ireland and thus succeeds Erik Thijssen, who had headed the Club for the last nine years.
Gert van Beek has been managing a 500-sow SPF breeding farm in Lelystad in the Netherlands since 2006. The farm evolved from the former experimental farm of the University of Wageningen, which he headed from 2001 to 2006. Breeding stock is exported throughout the world from this present-day nucleus farm. Van Beek also operates in Germany, where together with a partner he has a share in a sow unit in the east of the country.
Among his voluntary activities, Gert van Beek has been Deputy Chairman of the Dutch Pig Farmers Association (NVV) in the Netherlands since 2013 and also managed its transition into a new organisational form.
In his address to the EPP members, van Beek explained his motivation for standing for election as EPP President, saying that he considers the international sharing of experience, the main concern of the European Pig Producers, to be essential in order to master the growing challenges. He added that pig farming had changed substantially in the last few years and would need to continue changing in order to meet the requirements. That was why organisations such as the EPP were necessary in order to be able to swap information about making pig farming fit for the future through the network and to share the experience gained with different systems. He went on to say that he wanted to be EPP President for ALL members and to expand and use his existing network in the Netherlands internationally for the Club.
Gert van Beek (51) is married and a passionate cyclist. He regularly takes part in the cycling events of the “Big Challenge”, in order to collect money to combat cancer disease. Consequently, following the EPP Congress, he went from Switzerland to France in order to take part in the Challenge there. DLG will invite the new EPP President in the coming weeks to discuss joint projects and events. A first highlight for van Beek will surely be the opening of the International Cattle & Pig Event at EuroTier in Hanover on 12 November 2018.