Mink farms in Iceland have taken significant losses again this year as the price for mink pelts has been at half the cost of production for three years running, RÚV reports. According to the chairman of the Icelandic Fur Breeder’s Association (SÍL), it is likely that many mink farmers will close their operations if the government does not intervene.
Overproduction has led to a drop in prices for mink pelts in the global market, which has been exacerbated by the strengthening of foreign currencies in relation to the króna. Reduced production has helped stabilize prices somewhat, but there is still great uncertainty in the market. “This is now clearly the worst it’s been for mink farmers in twenty years,” said SÍL chairman Einar Einarsson.
As a result, SÍL wants the government to intervene and provide financial assistance to struggling mink farmers. Einar says that mink farmers were in a similar situation in 1990. Back then, the government temporarily supported farmers, but there has never been a guarantee of subsidies in the long term. “We’re asking for three-year government involvement,” said Einar. “And then we’re talking about one year that would just go straight to farmers.”
Following this, Einar explains, SÍL wants the state to invest in feed production facilities for mink, which they envision as a two-year program. “It is also very important to...reduce and stop landfilling of organic waste. Strengthen the feed production facilities and work on that waste.” As it stands, the organic byproducts of fur farming are often buried instead of utilized for other purposes, although some mink farmers have attempted to make use of byproducts, such as mink fat.
“We lost five mink farms this last fall,” Einar continued, saying that many other mink farmers are also considering closing their operations in the near future, if SÍL is not successful in convincing the Icelandic government to come to the struggling farmers' aid.