Cash for great ideas

A pot of £200,000 has been set aside by the British Pig Executive to help producers and processors develop new ideas.

The Innovation Fund has already given grants to half a dozen projects and new ones are now being sought.

BPEX said the aim of the fund was to provide pump-priming money rather than cash for capital investment which will allow ideas to be tested and developed.

The idea is the whole industry would be able to benefit from successfully developed projects.

Outdoor producer Steve Hart received one of the first round of grants to develop a handling and weighing system: incorporating the Pharmweigh Auto Drafter for easier selection of slaughter weight pigs in outdoor systems.

Hart said: "I found the whole process very easy. Applications can be daunting with long forms to fill in but it wasn't like that. I would recommend anybody who has a good idea but not enough money to develop it to get stuck in. The BPEX KT staff are very helpful and can guide you through the process."

BPEX Director of Pig Industry Development Mark Wilson said: "The whole process is actually very simple.

"All we are asking people to do is have a chat with their Knowledge Transfer Manager about the idea and then send it in to us.

"The ideas do not have to be wholly original. If somebody has seen something that works abroad, then it could be adapted to work here with a bit of development."

For further information, contact a BPEX Knowledge Transfer Manager, details at www.bpex.org.uk , email kt@bpex.org.uk.