By FWi staff

NICK BROWN paid what the NPA called a “long overdue” visit to Norfolk and Suffolk on Wednesday (15 November) to look at the effects of CSF on the pig industry in the region.

One of the main problems still being faced by producers in surveillance zones is the level of bankable payments received under the Welfare Slaughter Scheme.

Although the NPA has now been able to negotiate 12 +55p/kg for all pigs sold into the scheme, until the industry levy element of this payment has been ratified, producers cheques from the Intervention Board are capped at 50 per pig.

This has lead to cashflow losses of between 20-30 per pig and will result in a steep rise in the number of insolvencies among producers, compounders and allied trades, according to the NPA.

To ease these financial pressures the Minister has promised to look at setting up a meeting within the next two weeks.

This is to examine what guarantees the banking industry requires to allow it to provide bridging finance secured against the statutory levy, which has yet to be initiated.

In an effort to try and bring the whole CSF scenario to a close the Minister also announced that all pig units within 3km (1.8 miles) of existing infectious premises will be slaughtered out under a new “clear felling” policy.

This will result in the on-farm slaughter of a further 10,000 pigs on 17 farms on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and follows the same 3km rule adopted in the Dutch 1997 outbreak.

The NPA has asked if 500,000 sitting dormant in the Aujeskeys fund could also be used to help in the cash crisis facing producers. This source of finance is being investigated.

For those producers leaving the industry the Minister confirmed that further progress is being made towards a start date.

Final details will be available at the Smithfield Show at the end of the month, but some sources within MAFF feel that this may now prove to be optimistic.

Both the Outgoers and Ongoers Schemes still require final approval and producers are advised not to consider this as an option until all the details are confirmed and agreed in Brussels.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry

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