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A big thank you from the NPA to Nigel Penlington

1st Mar 2019 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has thanked Nigel Penlington for the huge contribution he has made to the pig industry over the past 14 years. Nigel left AHDB yesterday, with the best wishes of the industry ringing in his ears. 

PenlingtonThe NPA has followed his progress with particular interest as it had a hand in his appointment. Concerned at the impact the forthcoming IPPC regulations could have on the pig industry in the early 2000s, then producer group member, James Black, persuaded the group that it should recommend the appointment of a specialist to fight producers' corner on this issue and guide the industry through implementation, NPA historian and former webmaster Digby Scott pointed out this week. 

The rest, as they say is history. 

Nigel joined the levy body in 2004 on a three-year contract to help the industry through the new IPPC regulations. So successful was he in this that he won the 2010 Chris Brant Award in recognition of his work.

Richard Longthorp's citation stated: "His ability to critically analyse Environment Agency technospeak and challenge both questionable science and also Britain’s interpretation of European Union law - and then present the facts in a fashion we can all understand - is now legend. Even Environment Agency staff recognise his ability to help them interact more effectively with producers.

"With his direct help, these businesses have managed to push forward and not (yet) be suffocated by IPPC. Not bad really for an oily rag and spanner man who is happiest when restoring old tractors or replacing malfunctioning parts on his slightly disreputable old Land-Rover."

The job has expanded since then and his last role at AHDB, as head of environment and buildings, incorporated a wide remit, as the environmental focus on pig production has grown over the years. 

Nigel thanked everyone who had supported him during his time at BPEX/AHDB. He said he had decided that now was the right time for a change. “Now is, I hope, the right time to do that before its too late. Despite many people asking if I am retiring, I am not there yet. I am looking at a few options, but expect to be working as a freelance consultant, and do not intend to go far from the pig industry," he said.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: "Nigel has made an enormous contribution to the pig industry over the years and I want to thank him on behalf of all our members who have benefited from his knowledge, dedication and persistence. The pig industry would be much the poorer without his work. 

"We are sad to see him go but looking forward to him being available in a consultancy role!"