Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Illinois Farm Bureau Members Tour EU Farms

Participants of the IFB EU Animal Care Study Tour pose on a UK
crop/livestock farm.
Members of the Illinois Farm Bureau recently toured farms and met with agriculture industry officials in the European Union during the EU Animal Care Study Tour.

The tour was designed to give Illinois livestock producers more insight into how animals are raised in the EU.

The EU this year implemented a ban on the use of gestation stalls in the swine industry. Producers there also face strict regulations on the use of antibiotics.

IFB members learned some European hog producers chose to exit the business rather than invest in new housing systems. Others expanded their operations to spread the costs across more animal units.

IFB members Abe Trone, Stephenson County, and Mitzi Sharer, Henderson
County, get a bird's eye view of laying hens at Rondeel Egg Farm in The
Livestock producers in some EU countries received government subsidies to help offset the cost of changing housing systems. There has been a private push in the U.S. for similar livestock housing systems, but to date there has been no indication that U.S. farmers will receive assistance to invest in their operations similar to their European counterparts.

Consumer buying trends and perceived perceptions of consumer demands are key drivers of changes to the livestock industry in the EU, according to reports during the tour.

Paul Anthonissen, a farmer from Belgium, herds a Belgian blue bull on his
farm during the IFB Animal Care Study Tour.
IFB each year takes a select group of members on market study tours to locations around the world. This year was the second IFB study tour to the EU.

~ Daniel Grant, FarmWeek Senior Commodities Editor

Photo credit: FarmWeek

This blog was reprinted from FarmWeek. The full reports on the Tour can be found here (pages 8-9) and here (pages 8-9).


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