Pig farmers say they can provide 3,000 jobs

Larger herd sizes could stimulate economy, but government must recognise industry’s potential in order for growth to occur, say pig farmers


Last week’s Pig Congress in the Jutland town of Herning has left industry leaders optimistic that they can add three billion kroner and 3,000 jobs to the Danish economy.

The “Herning Declaration” poses a new strategy for raising pigs for slaughter that would increase the number of pigs in Denmark by two million over the next two years. By increasing production, Denmark will have a greater share of the export market. 

“We have the answer to economic growth for Denmark,” said Nicolaj Nørgaard, the head of the Pig Research Centre. 

“Now we can produce more with less environmental emissions because of advances in technology and feed conversion rates are higher in new barns,” he added.

But the payout won’t be possible unless the government recognises the industry’s potential and encourages Danish farmers to expand their businesses, Nørgaard said.

“It’s difficult for farmers to get capital for investment. We need support for new investment,” Nørgaard said, adding that the investments would help bring down the cost of production.

Norgaard added that increasing slaughter pig production is imperative for Denmark to compete in an export market with rapidly growing competitors, such as China.

Denmark exports enough pork products to China annually to amount to one container every hour of every day. This puts China on par with Denmark’s other largest importer of pork products, Germany, which imports roughly 2.4 billion kroner of pork a year from Denmark. 

Denmark currently has 5,000 pig farms and a total herd size of about 15 million – roughly three times the population.