Pig sector looks to nurture next generation of farmers

The pig sector is in a healthy state, helped by the weak pound. Picture: Kimberley Powell

The pig sector is in a healthy state, helped by the weak pound. Picture: Kimberley Powell

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Pig farmers have launched a new initiative aims to bring a new generation of producers into the sty.

NFU Scotland yesterday announced it was teaming up with marketing co-op Scottish Pig Producers to offer backing and individual mentoring for newcomers to the industry.

The two organisations said that the weak pound, investment from Tulip in new abattoir facilities at Brechin and increasing commitment to domestic pork from retailers had improved the outlook for pig production in Scotland.

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Chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, Andy McGowan, said that to meet this demand, Scotland needed more pig farmers and, in particular, more finishing units – and newcomers to add dynamism to the sector.

“To help new entrants to pig production on their way, we are working on a package with feed merchants and abattoirs to assist them,” he said.

“We are also putting in place a mentoring system involving existing producers so the new businesses have the best chance of success.

“It is an exciting time for Scottish pigs. We have strong market signals and there is growing optimism in the sector. If you are thinking of diversifying your business or looking for a new challenge, the time could be right as we have opportunities for both new and existing farmers.”

Mark Donald, chair of the union’s new generation committee, said that the barriers to entry into this type of farming were much lower than in many other sectors: “Indeed, some very successful farmers have started with only a shed and the drive to succeed.”

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