13 June 2001
Ask for your money, pig men urged

By Alistair Driver

THE new head of the National Pig Association has urged more farmers to apply for government money to help them restructure their businesses.

Stuart Royston, who started work this week, said 8 million had already been allocated to 288 pig farmers under the scheme which opened in January.

“There are more funds available and it is essential that the industry takes maximum advantage of the money on offer from HMG.”

Mr Royston, a former civil servant, took up his post on Monday (11 June), succeeding Mike Sheldon who left the organisation at the end of last year.

He acknowledged that he faces a difficult task to spearhead the revival of an industry devastated recently by low prices, swine fever and foot-and-mouth.

“We need to get back to where we were before foot-and-mouth which has totally disrupted the industry.”

The key is to get exports moving again after foot-and-mouth, he said.

The NPA hopes to press the government and Brussels for an early resumption of exports for East Anglia, the UKs key pig-production area.

Before joining the association Mr Royston, who lives in Hampshire, was director general of the Landscape Institute.

He admits he knows little about the pig industry. But he said he has learnt enough already to know that the key to industry recovery is stimulating demand.

He now faces the task of attracting new members to the ailing NPA.

The association has struggled to attract new members since its formation in 1999 and has relied heavily on the NFU for funding.

“The NPA has got to prove itself to be an effective voice for the whole industry. If we are seen to be effective we will get more people on board.”

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