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20 years of NPA celebrated with new book

17th Jun 2019 / By Digby Scott

"Don’t for a minute think yesterday’s heroes are a dying breed… we’re still turning them out today. So says Digby Scott, who has written a new book celebrating 20 years of the NPA. 

20 Years of NPA

On Tuesday June 18, NPA will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with the publication of a 164-page book. It has a cover price of £10, but thanks to the generous support of NPA Allied Industry Group sponsors, members will be able to buy it at cost, for about £5.

I didn’t want to write the book. And I certainly aren’t seeking to be cast in the role of industry historian (too partisan, too slapdash, too lazy).

DigbyBut you know how it is when NPA chief executive Zoe Davies wants something. Wriggle all you like, but she WILL have her way.

The project started as an A5 magazine but subsequently took on a life of its own and became a fully-fledged book. So all the page margins and gutters had to be resized along the way, but I decided to keep the newsy magazine-like design. 

When choosing what to include and what to leave out, I took as my guiding principle the dictum of 1066 And All That authors Sellar and Yeatman, that history isn’t ‘what you thought’, but what you can remember.

Also, to be honest, I was guided by what remained on my computer hard-discs after a big clear-out when I retired in 2016.

So it’s a very arbitrary snapshot of our history, and I make no apologies for that. Also it tends to dwell on those difficult early years. And I make no apologies for that either.

The book wouldn’t have been possible were it not for Ann. And I do wish everyone in the industry would stop referring to her as ‘long-suffering’. Being married to me is a joy and a privilege.

She it was, who from day one of the troubles started quietly filing away all the Press cuttings from the daily papers we took at the Pig World office, and the occasional cuttings readers sent us from elsewhere in the country. I didn’t even know she was doing it.

All of those cuttings have now been digitised and you can view them, if you’ve a mind to, at

Design and production of the book have involved a sharp learning curve for me as hitherto I’ve been involved only with newspaper and magazine production.

And the brave new world of digital printing has been a revelation. Conventional printing processes dictate a print run of 1,000 or more to be even remotely affordable per-item, but a professional digital printing company can run off as few as ten copies of a perfect-bound hard-cover book reasonably cost-effectively, and deliver in well under a fortnight.

As you delve into the book (I have aimed for a light, dippable confection rather than a heavy text-dense read) you’ll be reminded of the many outstanding people in this industry.

But don’t be fooled into thinking we don’t make them like that any more. We’re still producing many admirable coal-face grafters who’re prepared to go the extra mile for the industry, without thought of personal reward or agrandizement.

So please have a think, and suggest likely candidates for this year’s NPA Chris Brant Award. Nominations have just opened.

The Chris Brant Award is the very best kind of honest-mud-on-boots award. That's why over the years it's become the industry's most desirable accolade, attracting countless nominations for the widest range of people.

And its why winning it means so much to its recipients, most of whom have never — not in their wildest dreams — thought of themselves as award-winning material.

Find out more, and make your nomination online at Go on… do it now, whilst you’re thinking about it!

Digby book FMD


SOME QUOTES FROM ‘National Pig Association 20 Years’….

‘This is our story… the story of the British pig industry’s epic journey of heartbreak, heroism, hope and honour.’ — Digby Scott

‘Since the day I stumbled into the light that is the British pig industry I have been wholly awe-inspired and amazed by the tenacity, determination and, in many cases sheer bloody-mindedness, of those working in it.’ — Zoe Davies

‘They say time passes quickly when you’re enjoying yourself. Well I know for sure it hasn’t all been fun — but the one thing that has helped see us through thick and thin has been NPA.’ — Richard Lister

Phil Stephenson‘We must applaud those who had the foresight to set up NPA 20 years ago, to confront the good, and bad (and ugly) that comes our industry’s way. And we must be grateful too for the continuing hard work of the current NPA team.’ — Phil Stephenson

"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." — Hugh Crabtree

"In an effort to help officials understand the sector better, NPA organised countless farm and factory visits in a mix of policy areas, which helped to inform the issues of the day whilst continuing to improve the relationship between NPA and Defra. NPA was also first in the queue when new ministers were appointed, meeting them to explain the sector priorities, what we were doing for ourselves and where Government could help." — Stewart Houston

"On almost every issue affecting the promotion of farming, the industry has been outwitted by its quicker and more imaginative opponents in the consumer, animal welfare and green lobbies. The hapless pig farmer had to come close to financial ruin before a campaign promoting British pork was launched. And even then, there is little evidence in the High Street of the £9m the Meat and Livestock Commission has taken from pig farmers' pockets." — Yorkshire Post

longthorpr"Did we enjoy what we were doing? No. It was a means to an end. Who enjoys driving 80 miles or more and standing out in the freezing cold until the early hours of a Friday morning, to protect a legitimate way of making a living?" — Richard Longthorp

"Congratulations NPA on your 20th birthday. I’m proud and honoured to have played a little part in your history and I look forward to being with you for a large part of the next 20 years." — Andrea Vickers.

"I was incensed by how the media and locals treated that family, and how little remorse or interest Animal Equality showed. He was just another evil animal exploiter to them. I vowed then to never let another one slip through the net and have made it a priority, sometimes at great personal cost, to be there for anyone similarly affected." — Zoe Davies

"So, whilst this job is really bloody difficult at times, it’s ultimately the most varied, challenging and rewarding role I’ve ever experienced. I love my job, I’m proud of what I do and I’m proud of the industry I do it for." — Lizzy Wilson

"As one producer told me in my first week, “Brexit is a small white bunny rabbit compared to what we have been through in the last twenty years."" — Ed Barker

Digby book Zoe

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