Change is the only constant. This is how we might interpret the words of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who believed that all phenomena are characterised by constant change. He described this using the words ‘Panta Rhei’, which can be translated as ‘everything flows’. The fact that the world around us is constantly changing, that these changes are happening more and more frequently and that they more and more often seem to be accompanied by crises will not have escaped anyone's attention.
The year 2022 was also marked by many crises: asylum, energy, climate, nitrogen and a housing crisis; in fact too many to mention. A crisis can be defined as follows: extreme – partly unexpected – changes that could lead to emergency situations in which the functioning of a system is seriously disrupted. If you let this sink in properly, it looks like our safe world is about to collapse. Unfortunately, many of the crises mentioned are also affecting our wonderful agricultural sector.
As a link within a large food production chain, the VanDrie Group is noticing the impact that all these crises are having on people working in the agricultural sector. It is an uncertain time for many entrepreneurs. The government's policy is causing many livestock farmers to have doubts about the survival of their business which, of course, also has implications for all adjacent sectors. Plans for major changes and new policies will lead to restructuring in the sector in the future. But exactly what these changes will look like is still unclear.
With all these crises and the continuing stream of policy proposals for major systemic changes, we see a clear call for the government not to lose sight of the human behind the citizen (AND farmer). Once intended changes seem to become more of a reality that is ideological or that only exists on paper or that is actually ideological, you will rapidly lose the commitment of the stakeholders that count: people working in the sector who, if they feel heard, can and want to bring about change from within.
Like many agricultural businesses, we, as the VanDrie Group, are a wonderful family business. A characteristic of family businesses is that people are actually the main focus, be they customers, suppliers, employees or entrepreneurs. Together, they ensure success and only together can they work to bring about change to face crises. No vague policy visions or transition management reports, but rather all those people with their boots on the ground and the dedication of employees make it possible – even in times of crisis – to do business responsibly.
With all these crises and the continuing stream of policy proposals for major systemic changes, we see a clear call for the government not to lose sight of the person behind the citizen (AND farmer).
We are therefore continuing to lead the way, especially now, and are improving ourselves every day. In 2022, the dairy and veal farming sector's routeplan ‘Goede zorg voor het kalf’ (‘Good care for the calf’ road map) was launched, to which we made a significant contribution as a partner. Increased cooperation within the chain is helping improve animal health and welfare. For example, a project has been launched in collaboration with professionals from across the chain in which the health status of the calf acts as a guide when determining what steps are taken at what time. This is expected to further reduce the burden of disease and use of antibiotics.
It is on this basis that I would like to thank our customers, suppliers and partners for the pleasant cooperation with the VanDrie Group in 2022. A special thanks goes to my colleagues who have contributed significantly to the success of the VanDrie Group. Together, we will continue to consolidate the presence of our wonderful family business based on a foundation of trust so that people can take responsibility and thereby contribute towards changes that matter. Change is common to all eras, but by working together, we can influence how change occurs.
Panta Rhei, everything flows.
I hope you enjoy reading this report!
Director Corporate Quality
14 July 2023
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