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Q. How has the business changed since you’ve been with the company?
A. Nedap has been active in the pig industry since the early 1980s. For a long time, the company was focused on traditional western European pig farming (family farms). We’ve grown in the last few years, scaling up to make our systems suitable for large farm operations. This generates a lot of data and has helped us become an interesting partner for large swine producers and integrators.
Q. What concerns do you have about the swine industry?
A. Today, the first thing that pops in my mind is the impact of African swine fever (ASF). And a good second is trade conflicts. As far as ASF, it will definitely change the landscape of pig farming for the next 5-10 years.
I believe small-scale farming and backyard farming will disappear more rapidly than anticipated. I think we will have to scale up to more modern, larger-scaled farm units to serve the demands of the world. Running large-scale operations means that we need insights and need to know what’s going on at production level. Combining that with the shortage of workers on pig farms, automation will be of high importance for future pig farming. We aren’t going to do things manually that can easily result in mistakes and wrong anticipations. With smart automation, the capability to grow big farms, but still operate them with innovative solutions and respect for the animal, will get more attention, wider and quicker.
Q. What are the greatest opportunities in the swine industry today?
A. In the next 10-15 years, I believe the pig industry will expand in areas such as Africa or India with improved infrastructure and professionalism. The insights are much more available and automation will help us increase that efficiency. I also believe the consumer is going to expect us to show a certain level of transparency in order not to have “meat from a black box.” I see a lot of opportunities to show the world that we do a good job of producing safe, honest meat that’s produced under respectful circumstances. There’s no doubt consumption of pork will grow, too. But how that will turn out in China is an unknown factor. We may not know if the consumption per person will get back to previous levels, but I think China will produce more pork volume-wise in the long run.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. I represent a company that I proudly and honestly see as number one in its category. That’s a motivation that every day makes me proud to go out, meet customers, share ideas, give presentations, listen to their situations and try to adapt to that to bring a solution.
Q. What do you look for in a new hire?
A. I admire when people have taken some risk and shown guts, that they dare to make some difficult changes during their career. Traveling all over the world and visiting pig production sites under all kinds of circumstances requires a love for doing that and never being afraid.
PORK Perspectives is a recurring column that provides business and leadership strategy tips from some of the pork industry’s finest. Opinions expressed in this column are the opinions of Martin Enderink and do not represent the opinions of Farm Journal's PORK. Watch for future columns featuring advice and insights from more of the pork industry's leaders.
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