Emergency summit on pig crisis agreed

By Andrew Heskin, Partner and ARA specialist

The Government has agreed to organise an emergency summit of the entire pig supply chain as a way of trying to find a solution to the current challenges on UK pig farms.

Defra farming minister Victoria Prentis has agreed to a roundtable event to be held “shortly”, following representation by the National Pig Association (NPA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

In a joint letter to George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the NPA and NFU pointed to the deteriorating situation for pig producers.

The pig backlog on UK farms is well in excess of 170,000 animals due to a backlog of butchers in pork processing plants and tens of thousands of healthy animals being slaughtered on farms by desperate producers who need the space.

In addition, the letter points out that some 30,000 sows have been lost from the English herd over the last six months and only 105 foreign butchers have taken up the 800 places offered under the seasonal visa scheme, which closed on 31 December 2021.

NFU president Minette Batters said in the letter that the situation facing pig farmers across the country is “absolutely devastating and is causing enormous emotional, mental and financial stress for these hard-working, farming families.”

Echoing her sentiments, NPA Chairman Rob Mutimer said that if nothing changes, there could be a mass exodus from this industry over the next 12 months, adding that, once that production base is lost, it will be impossible to get it back.

If you operate in the pig farming industry or face similar issues on your own farm it is important to seek strategic guidance from a trusted adviser. To find out how we can help you with your farming strategy, please speak to us.