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Pork levy to be used for cull and render service to reduce backlog

28th Oct 2021 / By Alistair Driver

AHDB’s Pork Board has agreed to fund a dedicated off-farm cull and render service for mature pigs as a 'backstop' for producers who are struggling with a backlog of pigs on-farm.

AHDB is in the process of setting up the plant which will have capacity for between 2,000 and 3,000 mature pigs per week.

The pork levy will fund setting up the facility, which will cost up to £20,000, while AHDB will also cover any idle time staff costs during its operation, which is likely to run for between eight to 12 weeks.

The plant will make an operating charge per pig to the producer – a commercial arrangement between the two parties. The facility will be opened as soon as possible.

AHDB Divisional Director of Engagement Will Jackson said: “The provision of a cull and render service in an established abattoir will offer farmers who cannot sell their pigs, at any price, for processing into the food chain, a way to minimise the impact of the situation.

“The challenges being placed on the pork sector right now are extremely concerning and AHDB is working with government and industry to address the issues and try to find solutions that help our levy payers.”

AHDB said this latest announcement forms part of a package of measures it is helping to deliver alongside government and industry to address the challenges facing the pork sector, including a shortage of skilled butchers in abattoirs. AHDB also recently announced a one-month levy holiday in November, to help ease the financial burden faced by levy payers.

AHDB has also been providing independent evidence to government setting out the seriousness of the situation and said  its insight into the crisis helped open the door to approval for visas to 800 trained butchers and abattoir staff to alleviate the skills shortage.