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Meryl Ward to step down as AHDB Pork chairman
Published:  28 December, 2016

AHDB board member and AHDB Pork sector board chair Meryl Ward has announced that she will not put herself forward for re-appointment when her term of office comes to an end in March 2017. 

She said her decision was based on the workload involved and the consequent impact on her own business.

“It is a real privilege to have had the opportunity to contribute to AHDB and to lead the Pork Sector Board. I appreciate the hard work and commitment that the pork board and all the staff has put in over the challenging last 18 months of the AHDB restructure.

“The breadth and depth of the work is often not widely understood by levy payers and the wider pig industry community.”

Meryl and her husband Steve farm a large arable enterprise in Lincolnshire, have 2,200 sows and run a successful farm shop and restaurant called Uncle Henry's.

She currently chairs the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network - a charity which provides practical support and advocacy to individuals in need in rural Lincolnshire.

She was a key member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council (now a committee) for many years, during which time it produced highly-acclaimed science-based reports for government. Meryl chaired the report ‘Farm Animal Welfare: Health and Disease.

She was an AHDB Pork board member from 2003 to 2011 and played a key role on the welfare outcomes work stream, helping take research into welfare outcome measures into a ground breaking industry scheme for measuring real welfare indicators in farm animals. Meryl was awarded an MBE in 2013 for her work on pig welfare.

AHDB chairman Peter Kendall said: “Meryl has put a huge amount of commitment, and energy into her board roles, and her contribution and passion will be missed. Her leadership in developing CIEL as part of the AgriTech strategy has been critical and will prove invaluable for the future of the industry.

Defra will now start the search for another strong leader who, first and foremost, will be an AHDB board member helping the organisation achieve its vision to build a world class food and farming industry inspired by, and competing with the best. That person will also need to be able to champion the pig sector as the new chair of the AHDB Pork Sector Board.