john godfrey

Tributes are being paid to Lincolnshire farmer and former Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board chairman John Godfrey, who has died after a two-year illness.

Mr Godfrey, 67, was awarded the CBE in 1998 for services to the British pig industry. He passed away in the early hours of 1 December.

Earlier this year, the association voted unanimously to award Mr Godfrey its first Lifetime Fellowship, in recognition of his exceptional service to the British pig sector.

See also: Pig producers honour ‘founding father’

Along with the late Sir Ben Gill, Mr Godfrey was responsible for bringing together the NFU pig committee and the British Pig Association to form the National Pig Association in 1999.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “As a founding father of the NPA, John gave the pig industry its own voice – a unique gift that has benefited all pig producers and will continue to do so.

She added: “He remained a strong supporter of NPA throughout his career and was always there to give the staff sound counsel and an honest opinion.

“I will never forget him telling me how proud he was of the NPA and what we have achieved, and we will strive hard to never let him down.

“He will be very sadly missed by all of us and will never be forgotten.”

A director of large-scale pig producer Elsham Linc, Mr Godfrey was also a director of RJ & AE Godfrey, which produces potatoes, peas, wheat, sugar beet and oilseed rape.

His wide-ranging farming interests stood him in good stead when he served as AHDB chairman from 2011 to 2014.

Current AHDB chairman and former NFU president Sir Peter Kendall said: “He was a leading light in the UK pig industry for many decades.

Mr Godfrey’s many industry roles included being the founding chairman of Assured British Pigs, which is now part of Assured Food Standards.

Sir Peter said: “He was forward-looking and a passionate advocate of farm assurance, which helped achieve premium prices for British pig farmers.

“He was a big figure in the farming world and his work at the AHDB during his time there continues to deliver savings for levypayers.

Mr Godfrey was a former president of Lincolnshire Agricultural Society and served as High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 2010-11.

He was a former chairman of the board of governors of Lincoln University and was awarded a doctorate by the university in 2009.