Rekindling the entrepreneurial spirit in UK pig producers and helping them put new ideas into practice – that’s the aim of the BPEX Innovation Fund.
Established in 2008, the initiative has already provided thousands of pounds to enable producers, often in partnership with the allied industry, to develop projects they believe will make life easier and more profitable.
“We believe this is the best way to spread new practices across the industry, helping people to look at things in a different light” said BPEX chairman Stewart Houston. “We want to promote innovation and there is still plenty of cash available.
“The industry has been bogged down in the struggle to survive for too long. Now things are a little easier and producers have more time to experiment with, more efficient and perhaps more profitable ways to work with pigs, or to manage their farms and we want to help them.”
Stewart said projects eligible for support from the Innovation Fund could involve things such as new training methods, environmental compliance, health, equipment, transport, feeding – anything to improve cost competitiveness and technical competence to help rebuild industry confidence to invest in the future.
“This pump priming is for anybody who has a good idea, but does not have the cash to develop it. All they need to do is talk to their local BPEX Knowledge Transfer (KT) manager and then we will decide whether or not the idea has merit and should be taken forward. It is as simple as that and people can apply for these funds at any time now,” he said.
Applications for funding would be judged on innovation, industry need, value for money and industry impact. Each the successful projects would be used as a case study to spread the knowledge gained to other producers.
Individual applicants for Innovation Fund support must be BPEX levy payers and applicant groups should contain at least one BPEX levy payer. Once a project has been approved for funding, BPEX will provide ongoing support in all areas, as appropriate, from a member of its KT team.