– Kaj Munck and his wife Anette took over the farm in 1988 after a forced sale.
– Crew is now on 380 pig sows where they produce 2,700 pigs for the slaughterhouse.
– The other pigs (approximately 8000 pcs.) are sold at to fixed customers, when they weigh 30-35 kg.
– 105 hectares of land and 90 hectares leased.
– Four employees.
– Kaj Munck is in Danish Crown and DLG Representatives.
Kaj Munck was visited by an American writer. Now he landed on the front page of the great American newspaper New York Times.
“Every time I google ‘the difference between American and Danish pork your name pops up’. Who are you?”
These were the words on the phone when the American author Barry Estabrook in the fall called Kaj Munck, a pig farmer from Bøgekærgård at Faxe in southern Zealand.
Kaj Munck had five years ago had an audience in-front of the US Congress, where he spoke about the Danish pig production success in reducing antibiotic use. Since then he has also been invited to the US swine Congress and lectured for them.
Recently some of Kaj Munck’s American acquaintances contacted him. They wanted to know if Kaj Munck had noted that he was on the front page of the New York Times? Yes, Kaj Munck very well knew. The author – who has a book being released shortly on the way on how to run a sustainable pig production – had in fact initially interviewed him over the phone and later visited him at Bøgekærgård and been on the Danish Crown slaughterhouse in Horsens. The American was also given a presentation by the Agriculture and Food experts at Axelborg.
New York Times is the world’s most famous newspaper and has a circulation of nearly 1.4 million. copies every day. The positive publicity pleases Kaj Munck, who think that a good international reputation can also be felt on the economy for him and his colleagues.
“I do hope that it will provide a little … No, i do not hope, I know, it will. Those I know over there know they have a problem in their pig production. So it will make Danish pig production take a step up the ladder. I have also spent four working days on a visit from Barry. So it won’t hurt to get a little something out of it. If not me, then my colleagues might get a little out of it. Perhaps it can give a few pennies per. kilo of pork. I do not know, “says Kaj Munck.
He would like if there was more equal competitive conditions internationally between pig producers.
The United States has looser rules for drugs in livestock production. But right now there is a major debate running on resistant bacteria, as every year an estimated 23,000 Americans die of “superbugs”, as they are called.
Kaj Munck has seen at first hand how US pork producers have put antibiotic use in system to promote growth in production, basically as a growth hormone. Unlike in Denmark, where a pig is to be affected by the disease to be allowed to get or be given antibiotics.
Kaj Munck visited three pig farms in Iowa in 2012. They had color systems where pigs were given certain medications, depending on age.
“It was really systematic. It was not just growth promoting doses. It was treatment doses, and it shook me, “says Kaj Munck.
The irrigation system used for the pigs to drink water from was spiked with cephalosporins, a drug that is banned in Denmark and several other countries.
Kaj Munck sees several reasons why the Americans let farmers use that much antibiotics. First, the medicine industry is very big – and antibiotics are inexpensive. Tetracyclines cost 1 USD Per kilo when you buy a pallet. Similar price in Denmark is 20 USD Per. kg., says Kaj Munck.
In addition, Americans have a more liberal attitude towards ownership than in Denmark. Pig farmers in the United States has thus greater right to decide over their own farms, says Kaj Munck. Another fact is that the Americans that works and take care of the pigs more often than not are poorly trained, for example, Mexican immigrants.
“To get a Mexican to assess whether a pig is sick or not is difficult. It’s much easier when it is connected through a color system and the color codes give them a direction, “says Kaj Munck.
Since 2012, when he visited Iowa, a lot have happened. A large pig producer, Smithfield, for example, has improved animal welfare. President Barack Obama has presented a plan for reducing antibiotic use among farmers. But he has no majority in Congress, so Kaj Munck sees the plans more as a declaration of intent.
Kaj Munck hope that his own voice can be a small contribution.
At least he has given Barry Estabrook a taste of Danish pork.
“I got him enticed to eat a hot dog. I said to him when he was in at Axel Borg(The head-quarter of the danish farming industry) in Copenhagen, that if you have to have the perfect meat, then you should buy a hot dog. Told him to order two roasted with all the shit on them (Ketchup, mustard, Remoulade, onions, cucumber) and a Cocio. He was quite crazy for more after that. When we were over at the major slaughterhouse in Horsens, he only wanted sausages and tasted eight different, “recalls Kaj Munck.