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NPA chair's New Year message - we need a supply chain that values its suppliers

1st Jan 2017 / By Richard Lister

In his New Year message, NPA chairman Richard Lister calls for the supply chain to value its suppliers and urges the industry to stand firm against the 'bullies'.

A happy New Year to all our members and here’s wishing for a profitable 2017.

ListerI must admit that I write with trepidation after a year like 2016. Who could have predicted the political world we have witnessed - Brexit, Trump and the continued unrest throughout the world?

Clearly, 2017 will be dominated by the spectre of Brexit, and the posturing that has dominated the debate.

Post-Article 50, the landscape may become clearer but I fancy this will be a long and protracted negotiation. We have made our position clear on the big issues for the UK pig industry, including trade and labour, to the Brexit teams and will offer our full support to the Government.

2016 has seen more than its fair share of negative publicity from Animal Rights/Vegan Pressure Groups and I have no doubt this will be something that we have to live with and manage.

As an industry we must not allow ourselves to be bullied by these people. We must maintain our standards as laid out in the Tidy Unit poster campaign and be rightfully proud of our Red Tractor standards.

2017 sees the start of target setting for our industry on the use of antibiotics. The O’Neil report has signified a quantum change for how we approach our herd health management and there will be a great deal of activity around this in the coming year.

Finally, the most important topic of all - the market. 2016 will be remembered as a disappointing year in that we lost another 5 per cent of the national herd in the first half of the year.

Whilst the second half of the year bounced back, it left big holes to fill again and levels of re-investment were again below par.

Producers need a profitable 2017 and beyond to replace a lot of tired infrastructure. Whilst we hope the pound remains helpful, China keeps taking significant quantities of pork and EU production does’nt increase, those are issues largely out of our control.

What we really want is a supply chain that values its suppliers and recognises their contribution by paying a price that allows them to re-invest in their businesses.

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