Italy is a country rich in agricultural history and is one of the largest agricultural producers and food processors in the European Union. Its diversified economy is divided into a developed industrial north and a less-developed agricultural south. Much of the country’s’ mountainous terrain is unsuitable for farming and approximately 4% of the population is employed in farming (1). The majority of animal production is located in the Northern regions of the country.
- In 2015, there were 8.3 million pigs in Italy. (2)
- Proscuitti is a type of traditional pork product with thousands of years of history in Italy.
- The average pig farm houses 365 pigs
- Approximately 70% of swine production is located in the northern region of Lombardia region counts for about 1/3 of the entire national swine population. (3)
- Italy is one of the top 5 largest boiler producers in the European Union. (4)
- Poultry is the only category of meat for which Italy is self-sufficient. (3)
- Main production is in broilers and turkeys. Most farms raising broilers and turkeys are located in the northern regions of Italy (Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia, and Piemonte). (5)
- The majority of the Italian poultry industry is vertically integrated
- Italy is a key player in the world dairy industry and dairy is first in the Italian food division.
- In 2016, there were 2,060,000 dairy cows in Italy. (6)
- Dairy production is located primarily in the Nothern regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, and Veneto e Piedmonte. 75% of the country’s milk is produced here.
- Italians have a strong tradition in cheese making with mozzarella, grana padano and parmigiana reggiano being the most produced Italian cheese.
- Major environmental issues currently facing Italy include air pollution from transportation and industrial sources, polluted inland waters, and insufficient industrial waste treatment and disposal programs. (7)
- Italy relies predominantly on oil/gas for energy supplies. (8)
- Inefficient waste management. (8)
- Water scarcity in several regions. (8)
3. Cozzi, G. and E. Ragno. Meat Production and Markey in Italy. 2003. Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus. 68: 71-77.
8. USDA Italy and Sustainable Agriculture Overview. 2013. https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Italy%20and%20Sustainable%20Agriculture%20Overview%20_Rome_Italy_2-11-2013.pdf