Jan Toft Nørgaard is Chairman of the cooperative dairy group Arla Foods and represents 9,700 farmer owners in seven Northern European countries and an annual milk volume of 14 billion kilos.
As passionate dairy farmer with a strong desire to influence the shaping of the cooperative for future generations, Jan decided in the mid 1990’s to seek influence in the farmer cooperative and became an elected representative. In 1998 he became a member of the Board of Directors, and in 2011 he was appointed Vice-Chairman of Arla Foods. In 2018 he took over the role of Chairman.
As Chairman, he is overall responsible for the corporate governance of Arla Foods and, in collaboration with the management, for setting the strategic agenda that ensures long-term viability and profitability for the farmer owners.
Jan is a firm believer that progressive and financially robust farmers can be part of the solution to solving one of the food industry’s biggest challenges: to provide nutritious, affordable and more sustainable food to a global population that will reach almost 10 billion citizens in 2050.
Not only will farmers need to produce more milk, they will also have to develop their farming methods to become more sustainable, while maintaining high standards for milk quality and animal welfare.
Jan is personally invested in this agenda and in motivating his fellow farmers, not least the young generation, to take an active part in the transition to sustainable dairy farming.
Since he was born in 1960, dairy farming has been part of Jan’s life. In the flat landscape of Southern Denmark, Jan’s parents build their farm, and at the time they had only 12 dairy cows. Jan bought his first two cows when he was 14 years old with gift money from his confirmation. In 1982, he bought 50 per cent of the family farm, becoming the sole owner in 1989.
Having dedicated a lot of his time to Arla during the years, Jan is used to changing from work clothes on the farm to the business uniform when going to meetings. Being away from his farm close on 100 days a year and spending a lot of time talking Arla business on the phone, he relies on his seven employees to run the farm and taking care of his 500 dairy cows, when he is away.
Jan is married to Sanne and is the father of three children and grandfather of two.