The name of the new pig sector company – BPEX Ltd – is based on the British Pig Executive which it replaces. Although it suggests continuity, unlike the old executive, BPEX Ltd will represent the interests only of English pig producers.
A combination of devolution and levy board restructuring means pig levies will be raised separately in Scotland and Wales by Quality Meat Scotland and Hybu Cig Cymru respectively from 1 April.
Stewart Houston, who sees his official job title change – and shortened – from British Pig Executive chairman to BPEX chairman while effectively retaining his post, has pledged to do all he can to help producers meet the challenge of soaring feed costs.
Government ministers and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board have already approved a temporary reduction of 10p in the levy paid by English pig producers for the financial year 2008/09. It will come into force from 1 April.
The one-year cut, which takes effect from April 1, reduces the total levy paid by producers to 75p per pig slaughtered. At the same time, a strategic decision has been taken to use reserves to increase spending by £2.5m.
The extra money is being spent on promoting the industry and building on the continuing feed cost crisis campaign to maintain the momentum built up so far aimed at getting a fair price for producers.
There is also a range of Knowledge Transfer and Research and Development work including a £1.5 million PCV2 vaccination scheme which offers producers vouchers for the vaccine.