NPA South Central Regional meeting - a more positive mood
1st Apr 2022 / By Lizzie Wilson
NPA kicked off this spring’s regional meetings with the South Central event on Wednesday, this time at a new venue in Donnington.
The mood in the room, from producer and allied members alike, was a little more positive, thanks to a few chinks of light starting to appear in the form of a steady reduction in the backlog and a most welcome recognition of the issues and financial commitment from processors and (some) retailers, resulting in a constant (albeit very slow) rise in the SPP.
It was then a real pleasure to provide a bit of good news for a change in our NPA update. Wins on TB and zinc oxide, as well as funding opportunities via the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway and the forthcoming slurry grant scheme were well received.
Members were particularly delighted with the news on the Farming Rules for Water and the clarification from Defra that soil and crop nitrogen requirement can now be considered over the entire annual crop cycle, meaning autumn application of both muck and slurry (provided it is compliant with the guidance and the risks fully considered and mitigated where possible) is back on the cards. A huge relief all round!
We were also pleased to host a special guest from Defra - John Powell, Head of Agricultural Sectors, who has been attending various pig discussion groups and industry meetings to meet pig producers and get a better understanding of our sector, how it works and what it needs.
NPA have been working very closely with John and his team for some time now; feeding in updates and data on the backlog to help with the formulation and evolution of the emergency measures, working to convene various meetings and roundtables and providing comprehensive briefings for ministers when requested.
Not only did John introduce himself and his intention to work more collaboratively with us, to create better policy that actually supports pig farming, he also publicly thanked the NPA, who he said had not only provided great value for its members, but had also provided great value and support to Defra to, in turn, help producers.