Following a productive meeting with industry representatives, including major new player Vion, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has agreed priorities for £700,000 of Scottish Government funding. The four projects are:
• A pig business network to improve benchmarking, collaboration and efficiencies across the supply chain
• The appointment of a Pig Veterinary Adviser to offer practical on-farm advice on disease control and elimination
• New guidance and one-to-one advice on slurry and waste management
• Research to develop a test for mycotoxin zearalenone, a feed contaminant affecting breeding and growth rates, in pig tissues
These measures come on top of £300,000 already being spent to enhance the marketing of pig meat, to carry out research into labelling and to improve animal health. Vital sector
“The pig sector is a vital part of our farming industry and we need to ensure it has a sustainable, economically viable future”, Lochhead said. “Rising feed costs, on top of last year’s foot and mouth restrictions have meant tough times for pig farmers. The Scottish Government has consistently pledged to do what it can to provide long-term help and this announcement is further evidence of delivering on that commitment.
“These important projects have been considered in partnership with the sector. I am particularly pleased that Vion, who have changed the landscape with their takeover of Grampian Country Foods, were part of the team that helped identify these priorities.
“We will continue our dialogue with the sector and work hard to ensure it thrives, along with the rest of Scotland’s rural economy.” Support package
Lochhead in August this year announced a £1 million package of support for the pig sector. Of this, £200,000 was already earmarked for supporting Quality Meat Scotland’s marketing of pig meat products. £100,000 was allocated to research into labelling and work to improve animal health. The remaining £700,000 was to be allocated in partnership with the pig sector.
A meeting with representatives from the pig sector was held on October 13, 2008. Priorities for funding projects from the £700,000 were discussed. At the meeting in Elgin were Gordon McKen, who chaired the Pig Sector Task Force, Philip Sleigh of the NFU Scotland and Brian McMonagle of Vion, the company which has taken over Grampian Country Foods.
Other action by the Scottish Government to help the pig sector includes bringing together producers with the retail, hospitality and wholesale sectors to discuss ways forward and highlighting to the European Commission the difficulties facing the pig sector. Related Website
• Scottish Government
• Vion Click here for the free Pig Progress newsletter