NPA Allied Industry Group
How NPA was formed, why NPA was formed, how NPA is different
By Hugh Crabtree
Chairman, NPA Allied Industry Group
NPA has its roots in the National Pig Breeders Association (NPBA) which was founded in 1884. It was an association of pedigree breeders and almost a century later in 1978 the Association of Breeding Companies merged with NPBA, recognising the reducing numbers of pedigree breeders in the United Kingdom and the growing influence of commercial breeding companies.
In 1981, NPBA launched a commercial sector to represent commercial pig farmers and this lead in turn to the establishment of an allied industries membership in the late 80s. My original involvement was as an allied industry member of the NPBA and in due course I became a council and executive member.
In 1991 the association was renamed the British Pig Association (BPA) and for another decade worked hard to become "the voice of the British pig industry".
During this period it became increasingly obvious that BPA's efforts were being confused and diluted by the continuing rivalry of the NFU Pig Committee. Consequently, discussions lead by then chairman of BPA John Godfrey began taking place behind closed doors (first in 1995) and continuing into the deepening crisis in the United Kingdom pig sector in 1997/98.
John Godfrey knew where the debate needed to get to but was not universally supported in the first instance — including by me by the way, as I couldn't see allied industry companies joining the NFU.
As the talking continued the most agitated pig farmers and their supplier supporters formed the British Pig Industry Support Group (BPISG) in 1998 and commenced a campaign of direct action some of which was pretty militant and confrontational.
This meant there were now three bodies claiming to represent the industry and as 1999 approached it was clear the matter of representation had to be concluded formally.
I suggested a Pig Industry Summit to John Godfrey and in March 1999 it took place over two days. By the end of 1999, the NPA had been formed, unrivalled as the clear single voice of the British pig industry.
John Godfrey its founding chairman and I its vice-chairman. Credit for pulling off this difficult and highly political task must largely go to John Godfrey and his vision which was several years in gestation. However, it could not have been done without the support of many like-minded industry "lifers" from right across the spectrum of producers and allied trades alike.
NPA was needed to clearly represent this unsupported livestock sector and very important producer of food for the nation and it has done so ever since.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of the NPA and why it is so different from the NFU, is that it was founded to represent an industry not just another group of farmers.
Yes pig farmers, but also their allied trades, commercial breeding company suppliers and even the inclusion of processor customers — the supply side of the pork chain at least as far as the supermarket shelf.
Whilst the involvement of processors continues to be challenging, efforts continue to be inclusive and market facing.
NPA can't represent the technical interests of all its members and neither should it, but it can and does represent the industry interests that its membership shares.
Hitting well above its weight and the envy of other agricultural groups and sectors, NPA is an association its members can be proud of and as we witness the impact of history beginning to repeat itself, we all need an association so clearly dedicated to preserving and developing pork production in Britain.
Following the death of NPA's principle founding father, we owe it to each other more than ever, to work together to secure our mutual future.
Producers, you support your suppliers, so make sure they support you
Calling all British pig producers! It's the Allied Industry Group committee here — we're trying to make sure as many of your suppliers are members of the NPA as possible.
We're doing this because NPA needs a solid financial base in membership subscriptions and we think membership is excellent value for money for allied trades.
Put simply, it's in your suppliers' interest that your business flourishes and since that's the NPA's prime goal your suppliers should support it. Simples.
Could we therefore ask you for some help please? When you're next talking to a supplier you're doing business with, just ask if the company is an NPA member and if not, why not.
If it's a simple oversight or a case of never before considering it — just put them in touch with me, or Lizzie at NPA.
Thanks very much for your help. Together we can make NPA truly representative of the whole industry. Oh, and you might also ask all producers you meet the same question! — Hugh Crabtree, 0118 988 9093.
Why it makes excellent business sense for supply companies to support NPA
Do you supply pig farmers? Are you a member of the National Pig Association's Allied Industry Group? If not, why not?
It was a long hard struggle to combine the commercial wing of the British Pig Association with the NFU Pig Committee to form NPA. The vision of the founding movers and shakers was an association that represented the United Kingdom pig industry – ALL of it. Prime producers, their suppliers and processors.
Of course, NPA cannot sensibly act as the trade association for process control manufacturers or feed compounders. They have their own trade associations.
But companies typically have more than one organisation representing their interests either because the representative bodies have different objectives or cover different aspects of the member company's interests.
Many pig farmers for example are members of the NPA and the NFU. Some will be members of processing or butchering organisations if they are doing on-farm processing of their pigs. It is normal therefore to belong to more than one commercial club.
Of course NPA membership and income is dominated by prime producers. But the association also represents supplier members and has a committee structure and board membership to prove it as well as routine meeting representation of the Allied Industry Group at Producer Group, and Producer Group at Allied Industry Group.
On a bad day pig producers can moan that suppliers ride on their backs to make their money. The truth is suppliers provide vital products and services and most do so in an honest manner in good faith; reinvesting some of their profits into developing new solutions as demanded by the market.
It's a commercial collaboration in a small specialist sector like pig production in the United Kingdom. I don't know any supplier who doesn't take its responsibilities to do a good job for its customers seriously — certainly all Allied Industry Group members do.
Suppliers rely on healthy and profitable prime producers. Therefore some expenditure to support the work of the association that strives to keep their prime producer members in profitable business makes very good business sense.
It's at least as sensible as placing adverts in specialist journals, attending exhibitions, going to conferences and other meeting places of producers ... printing product leaflets or engaging a PR professional. And as sensible as employing a sales person.
The NPA is not a subsidised association, it depends on the life blood of membership subscriptions. If more than 10 percent of your income comes from pig producers, you should join the NPA and get involved in creating the most efficient, dynamic and progressive pig sector in the world. — Hugh Crabtree
Chairman, NPA Allied Industry Group.
NPA Allied Industry Group
NPA Allied Industry Group meets six times a year. Its goals include:
- Supporting NPA producer members financially by maximising allied industry membership of NPA.
- Supporting NPA's elected Producer Group by offering expert advice on specialist subjects — genetics, transport, housing, pharmaceuticals etc.
- Supporting NPA's elected Producer Group by acting as a communications conduit to allied industry producer customers.
Not a member yet? Please download an Allied Industry Group membership form. If you wish to discuss your subscription, please don't hesitate to contact
Allied Industry Group members
Allied Industry Group elections are held every three years, in tandem with Producer Group elections. The current Allied Industry Group is as follows:
A-One Feed Supplements
George Vet Group
Thames Valley Cambac
(co-opted to represent pharmaceutical sector)