Meryl Ward to stand down as AHDB Pork chair
23rd Dec 2016 / By Alistair Driver
Lincolnshire farmer Meryl Ward has announced she will be standing down as chair of AHDB Pork at the end of March, after two years in the role.
Meryl, who with her husband, Steve, runs a 2,200-sow pig unit alongside a large arable enterprise and successful farm shop and restaurant, said her decision was based on the workload involved and the consequent impact on her own business.
Her term of office comes to an end in March 2017 and she will not be putting herself forward for another term as chair or as part of the board.
Meryl said it was a ‘real privilege’ to have contributed to AHDB and led the pork sector board.
“I appreciate the hard work and commitment that the pork board and all the staff has put in over the challenging last 18 months of the AHDB restructure,” she said.
“The breadth and depth of the work is often not widely understood by levy payers and the wider pig industry community.”
It means AHDB Pork, which is currently in the process of recruiting new board members, is now also looking for a new chair.
Defra said it will now start the search for another 'strong leader who, first and foremost, will be an AHDB board member helping the organisation achieve its vision to build a world class food and farming industry inspired by, and competing with the best'.
"That person will also need to be able to champion the pig sector as the new chair of the AHDB Pork Sector Board," Defra said.
AHDB chairman Peter Kendall said: “Meryl has put a huge amount of commitment and energy into her board roles, and her contribution and passion will be missed. Her leadership in developing CIEL as part of the AgriTech strategy has been critical and will prove invaluable for the future of the industry."
Meryl was previously an AHDB Pork board member from 2003 to 2011 and played a key role in developing a groundbreaking industry scheme for measuring real welfare indicators in farm animals. She was awarded an MBE in 2013 for her work on pig welfare.
She first shot to prominence in late 1990s as part of the British Pig Industry Support Group, which led the fightback against the market crisis that hit the sector.
She currently chairs the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network and was a key member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council for many years.