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Zonvarken: a new concept of pig farming from The Netherlands

News Section Icon Published 19/09/2023

Zonvarken is a small-scale - but scalable - farm model in The Netherlands which is having a positive impact not only on pig welfare, but also the farmer and the environment.

Free farrowing sows on Zonvarken Farm NL

Tackling key issues in pig farming

Zonvarken was founded in 2018 by four entrepreneurs with backgrounds in farming, genetics, and feed production: Rob Nieuwenhuis (farmer), Otto Offenberg (pig genetics), Jeroen Koks (food business product manager), and August Offenberg (animal feed sector).

Their aim was to develop a pig farm model that could tackle the main issues facing the pig industry in The Netherlands, namely: poor animal welfare, high carbon and nitrogen emissions, low income for the farmers, and air pollution experienced by those living in the surrounding areas.

The Zonvarken model works as an All-In-All-Out (AIAO) production system – animals remain in their same groups, without mixing throughout the production period, and the group moves through the phases of production at the same time.

Zonvarken farm meat pigs in outdoor runs

Highest rating for welfare

Zonvarken has been officially awarded 3 stars, the highest rating possible, by the Dutch “Beter Leven” animal welfare certification scheme.

In this farm model, the farmer has enough time available to look after the pigs due to the small-scale AIAO design.

Zonvarken products are available countrywide at Jumbo, the 2nd largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands.

Read the detailed case study to find out more about the solutions the company has applied to improve pig welfare, achieve better conditions for the farmer, and minimise its impact on the environment.




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