Dutch pig research given fresh platform for progress

Pig sector research efforts in the Netherlands have been given a fresh platform for innovation with the appointment of Theo Duteweerd as the full-time manager of the country’s Swine Innovation Centre (VIC) in Sterksel, with effect from January 1, 2016.

Mr Duteweerd (pictured above) moves into the post having previously been vice chair of the Dutch Union of Pig Farmers and treasurer of the country’s Producers’ Organisation for Pig Farming. He replaces Han Swinkels, who had held the position of interim manager at VIC Sterksel for the past year and a half.

VIC Sterksel is one of the innovation centres attached to Wageningen University and is seen by Dutch pig farmers as an important focus for research and innovation. The unit endured a troubled 2015, however, with more than half its employees being laid off mid-way through the year for financial reasons.

“We are delighted at the arrival of Mr Duteweerd as the new manager of Sterksel,” said Wageningen UR livestock research director, Annie de Veer. “He has good connections with pig farmers, understands their work and he has demonstrated that he has a good eye for innovation. In our view, he is highly capable of working alongside the sector to take steps towards innovation.

“The sector has had difficulties for quite a while already, and a great deal is demanded of the capacity for change by pig farmers. We believe that VIC Sterksel can perform an important role in this process.”

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