Award winner calls for change

Retailers need to invest in supply chains rather than price cuts, an award winning pig producer has warned.

Richard Longthorp, who was awarded the prestigious David Black award yesterday at the House of Lords, said when it comes to the current difficulties in the pig industry, it was no longer acceptable to sit back and say "the market will sort it out eventually".

"Are we really saying that, for something as important as food, the only way we can get a price increase to cover unprecedented feed cost inflation is to wait until another 50 percent of pig production has been lost and pigmeat is in chronic undersupply?

"Are we saying this is the only tool available? Some tool. We need retailers, instead of "investing in price cuts", to invest in their supply chains."

He also called on government to get involved, particularly in light of the recent foot-and-mouth crisis. He said following the "Pirbright drain" incident, "government should now invest some "moral" capital into the industry to help restore confidence".

The David Black award is present annually to someone who has made an important and sustained contribution to the pig industry.

Longthorp, who farms at Howden, east Yorkshire, is also a strong believer in training. Presenting the award, BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan, said: "Richard has made a significant and sustained contribution to the British pig industry through his leadership, clarity of vision and energetic implementation of industry initiatives.

"He has given of his time freely and worked tirelessly to represent the industry and has been a driving force behind improving the training and continuous professional development of staff on pig farms."