Larson is not only the Senior Breeding Manager for VikingJersey. He is also one of the leading experts on Jersey cows in the world. But things could have turned out very differently if it hadn't been for Larson’s determination to follow his heart.
“I thought I was going to be a school teacher,” Larson says. “But I kept talking about Jersey cows everywhere I went and one day, one of my school mates at teacher training college said: “Are you sure that you are in the right place?” Larson realised that he wasn’t. “I missed working in cattle breeding,” he adds.
He grew up on a farm in Hammel, Denmark, not far from the VikingGenetics head office in Assentoft. His parents and grandparents bred Jersey cows, but in high school, the last things Peter wanted to do was work with cattle after spending all his spare time in barns.
“After that remark from my school mate, though, I realised that I needed to pursue my passion, so I moved to Copenhagen,” Larson says.
The move from the countryside to Copenhagen was a big one for Larson. But his studies at the Veterinarian and Agricultural University paid off and the rest is, as they say, history. Global Jersey history.
A leading expert
In 1991, Larson graduated as an agronomist and started managing the Jersey Breeding program at the local AI society on Funen. Today at 61, the Senior Breeding Manager is considered one of the leading experts on Jersey cows in the world.
Larson has been with VikingGenetics from its inception in 2010 and with Dansire since 2003. Always to the fore, in charge of the Jersey breed and focused on how to breed healthier, more resilient cows that produce high milk fat and protein and with a worldwide reputation of being climate-friendly animals.
“What is unique about VikingGenetics is that we have managed to get support from our owners, the Nordic farmers, to develop the best possible genetics. We use the most modern technologies, we have been acquiring knowledge and funding for decades. We have every opportunity to drive innovation forward in a grounded and sustainable way. This is what drives me,” says Larson.
A respected voice around the world
When Larson is not at the VikingGenetics head office in Assentoft, or on a farm sharing his knowledge, he travels the world to connect with members of the European Jersey Society, which he co-founded in 2009 along with other Jersey enthusiasts. Farmers around the world consult Larson about Jersey breeding. He has visited most European countries, Colombia, South Africa and China.
“I love talking about the VikingJersey, and in fact, going to a teacher training college really helped, because I have had to communicate about innovative breeding many times over the years,” says Larson.
For the past six years, he has been a guest speaker on the bio tech course at Favrskov High School, teaching students about sustainable dairy production. He also organises tours for foreign visitors including showcasing Jersey bulls. One of his premium bulls, VJ Gislev, currently ranks number one in the United States among pure bred daughter proven bulls.
Renovating a farm
In addition to Jersey breeding, Larson loves playing football in Randers Freja. He also used to be involved in handball, local politics and even started a culture festival.
His current passion is a derelict farm, which he is renovating with his wife Regitze. Larson has four children, Regitze has two and between them, they have six grandchildren.
There never seems to be a shortage of exciting projects for a passionate person like Larson who leads a truly extraordinary life thanks to the determination he had to follow his heart and his calling for Jersey cows.