Why Italy?

Italian Agriculture



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.

Animal Production



  • 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.

Enviornmental Challenges 

  • 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)​ ​


 1. https://www.export.gov/article?id=Italy-Agricultural-Sector

2. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Agricultural_production_-_animals

3. Cozzi, G. and E. Ragno. Meat Production and Markey in Italy. 2003. Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus. 68: 71-77.

4. http://www.wattagnet.com/articles/25398-the---largest-poultry-egg-producers-in-europe

5. http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/2091/italy-poultry-outlook-2011/

6. https://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/market-information/farming-data/cow-numbers/eu-cow-numbers/#.Wej_aK3MyLs

7. https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=536

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