Danish pig producers joined together with leaders of the allied industries and processing sector, as well as the Food Trade Union, to sign an agreement to increase the number of slaughter pigs raised and finished Denmark by 2 million within the next two years.

This new Herning Declaration, which was signed at the Danish Pig Conference in Herning on October 23, calls for support from the government and retailers to help producers achieve this increase and reduce the number of piglets exported to Germany. Nicolaj Norgaard, director of Denmark’s Pig Research Institute, said that the Herning Declaration is needed to retain value in the country’s whole supply chain. “Everybody in the industry here is aware that we cannot export all our piglets and that we need a strong finisher sector and slaughter industry to retain strength in the supply chain," said Norgaard.

“Danish farmers have a strong sense of cooperation, and we believe there will be general support among producers for this declaration. However, we will need support from politicians and the government as well as banks, and pig industry leaders are already planning to meet with government officials to discuss the next step.”

Asger Krogsgaard, pig producer and chairman of the pig slaughter forum at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, said he believes the Herning Declaration is the right way forward to secure the future of pig farming in Denmark. He said when Danish producers sell their piglets to Germany, they are only reaching European markets, whereas if they produce slaughter pigs processed in Denmark, they can reach to world’s markets and maintain more stable prices, as well as have more influence in international trade circles.

The new plans will need large investments, but the government will see payback in a stronger economy, with more exports and more jobs in the processing and slaughter sectors. Krogsgaard said that the processors will support the move with new funds to provide producers with free on-farm advice to help them improve production systems and finish their pigs more efficiently.

Asked about his own pig farm, Krogsgaard said he has 1,700 sows and is producing 50,000 piglets. He has been taking 16,000 to slaughter weight and selling the rest to neighbors, but he is now planning to double his slaughter pig production to 32,000 per year. “I have already signed up to the Herning Declaration,” he said.

This year, the annual pig conference is being attended by a record 2,075 delegates and will include more than 50 workshops where pig farm employees will be able to discuss pig production challenges and learn about new developments in the industry.