Peter Noer

Newfoundland and Labrador Inductee - 2023

At ten years of age, Peter Noer’s first job experience was helping on his father’s mink farm, a passion that would build through the years and take him across the Atlantic Ocean. Born in Denmark in 1971, Peter’s early years were spent on the family farm or fishing for herring, eel, and flounder. Together with his father, they would sell their catch to local fish markets.

Peter began an electrician apprenticeship at 17 years old, but after a few years returned to fishing and mink production on the farm. A backpacking year in Australia gave him the opportunity to explore other areas of agricultural production, namely fruit harvesting and assisting with livestock. By 1996, Peter had begun employment with a wind turbine company, but after two years, he felt the pull back to agriculture and established his own mink farm on a part-time basis. In 1998, his farm required a full-time commitment.

In 2003, an article in the Danish trade magazine Fur Breeders caught Peter’s attention, featuring fur-farming opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador. The following year, Peter and Erik Dalsager purchased an existing mink farm and made the daring move to Cavendish. They arrived on a chartered freight plane, along with 3,500 breeding mink. They brought with them not only new technology, skills, and support, but also a passion for fur production that fueled change in Canada’s fur industry.

Established as Viking Fur Inc., Peter’s farm would reflect the trademark efficiency of Denmark’s industry, and harness decades of knowledge and experience in fur production. In his home country, the industry is supported by infrastructure that includes specialized feed, water, and farming equipment. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador boasted a fledgling industry with limited resources. Peter’s fresh perspective and experience helped him address these challenges and forge new opportunities for fellow producers.

In the following 20 years, Viking Fur Inc. evolved into a 15,000 breeder mink farm, which employs 100 individuals during the peak season. It is a self-sufficient operation, harvesting and processing livestock, and producing their own feed. Through the establishment of valuable partnerships with local fishing and poultry producers, Peter has succeeded in upcycling non-consumables from their operations to produce a feed product highly sought throughout the industry.

Diversification of the farm came in 2016, when Viking expanded to include Belted Galway cattle, the first of the breed in Newfoundland and Labrador. Locally-raised beef supports the province’s plans for greater food independence, and creates a sustainable revenue stream for the farm. Hay produced for the mink farm is used to feed the pastured cattle, and manure from both productions fertilizes the land, creating greater self-sufficiency within the production.

Leadership within his sector and the greater agriculture industry is a priority for Peter. He has been a Board member for the Newfoundland and Labrador Fur Breeders Association and a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture.

Peter’s success has had ripple effects through the industry. With his dedication and passion for fur production, he has helped to build a sustainable industry that benefits all producers. New opportunities have developed through his commitment to efficiency and innovation, care for his animals, and vision for his craft. In a challenging industry, Peter’s calm nature and willingness to speak his mind have made him a leader.

Nominated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture for his passion and tireless dedication to the fur industry, Peter Noel is a worthy inductee into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.