Ricardo Migueláñez. @rmiguelanez
In this edition of Who's Who, we're highlighting Francisco Marcén, Managing Director of Oviaragón-Grupo Pastores, Europe's leading sheep industry cooperative and currently in the news for having been recognized a few weeks ago as a Priority Associative Entity by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment (MAPAMA).
The company, which is based in Aragón, currently has 753 cooperative members who are sheep farmers, operating in nine regions of Spain (Aragón, Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha, Castile-León, Valencia, Balearic Islands, Navarre, Catalonia and La Rioja), with revenues of close to 53 million euros and approximately 400,000 sheep.
Francisco (Paco, as his friends call him) Marcén is one of its founding partners and is in charge of Grupo Pastores' day-to-day; he also has an extensive track record in the sector.
Marcén has been a member of the Interprofessional Agri-food Association for Sheep and Goats (INTEROVIC) since its creation, and before being named as its current president, he also chaired the promotional commission of Europe's program to promote lamb consumption in Spain, which is co-financed by the EU, MAPAMA, and contributions by stockbreeders and sheep sellers in Spain via the extension of the rule.
He has achieved many milestones at the helm of Grupo Pastores. That includes helping 500 stockbreeders improve their profits and living standards despite the profit crisis in the sheep industry; having a group of workers aligned with the company's mission; and contributing to the lamb market, for which traditional cuts were mainly the norm and now new cuts adapted to the current consumption model are available.
In his free time, Marcén likes to swim. He's a Pisces, so he was born with a love of the water. Swimming relaxes him (he's been doing it for more than 30 years) and it helps with his back problems. When he started, he would get tired very quickly, but nowadays he's unstoppable. In fact, on more than one occasion he's been warned that the pool is about to close and he has to get out. He usually goes swimming during the week, from 8:15 pm to 9 pm, and sometimes on the weekends as well.
He also likes to read and write, and the latter helps him better understand his ideas. He's been doing it his whole life—when he lived in his hometown and when he worked with all kinds of associations. As part of the cooperative, he also writes many opinion articles, which he's been doing for 35 years, and right now he's working on a book featuring a personal story.
Marcén also loves the movies. Whenever he goes to Madrid he heads to the Renoir theaters to see films that aren't available in Zaragoza. In his opinion, movies offer an experience that produces a special connection between the story of two people and the emotions felt by the viewer. He likes that movies have the ability to make you laugh or cry, and to identify with them.
In short, this leader in Spain's meat industry is known for defending the interests of sheep farmers. Marcén staunchly supports (an innate quality of his) the preservation of rural areas through shepherding by livestock farmers in Aragón, as well as when he's acting as the Interprofessional's representative, which at times creates conflict with other parts of the chain.
He's a great person that leaves an impression on everyone he meets.