From seed to sausage
In June our B2B account manager Quirijn Dees visited the Ontario Pork Congress (OPC) in Canada for the first time. This is a huge trade event that brings together all segments of the pig industry. He visited the trade fair with Gesiena Hooijer. She introduced us at the trade fair some years ago and has built up a large network of contacts since then. This was the last time she attended the fair and she has handed over the baton to Quirijn. He tells us more in this blog:
Important facts that you need to know about the pig industry in Canada
What struck me was the large number of Dutch pig farmers, especially in Alberta and Ontario: a new generation of farmers whose parents emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands just after the end of World War II. And a whole host of farmers in their early thirties are also active. In view of the situation in Canada, that’s quite logical – land is easy to acquire, and there are far fewer rules and regulations. And, compared to our country – there is just so much space….. When we ‘dropped by’ to call on one of the customers we were in the car for five hours there and back.
Managing an average of 1200 sows
Gesiena taught me about some of the peculiarities in Canada. For example, pig farmers like to have two corridors running along the pens instead of one: one that services the feeders and another one as an access service way in the centre of the section. It’s the method they prefer and gives them a greater overview of the animals. Which is necessary when you consider that an average sow farm in Canada is home to 1200 sows. Systems such as the Vari Plus and Vari Free give a high degree of certainty: the moveable floor considerably reduces the risk of the piglets being crushed by the sow.
Consumers have a big influence
Even though many of the farms are in the middle of nowhere, pig farmers in Canada are not isolated from developments. Consumers have a big influence, and as the Canadians closely monitor developments in the EU in this area, they are acutely aware of consumer trends. Many farmers literally work from seed to sausage; they grow their own cereal crops, home mix the grain to produce their own animal feed and sell the pork directly to supermarkets.
Face to face with our dealers
So now I finally had a chance to actually meet our Canadian dealers Avonbank and Dortmans Bros. Barn Equip. Inc. personally. They work hard and realise some fantastic projects. It’s much nicer to have the opportunity to talk face to face, the time difference complicates communication with them and with our customers too! There was also time to look at some technical drawings of pig house equipment and to visit customers and give advice.
I have been back home for a while now and we are back to communicating via Skype. It’s a shame, but we can’t take the plane every week…. That’s why it’s so important to properly train our dealers and make sure they know all about our products. To achieve this, we organise dealer training every year and consult regularly by phone. This week we are launching an online e-learning module for the Vari-Plus floor. This module will prepare the customer and the dealer to receive, install and maintain the product! Curious? Request more information here !