27 July 2001
Outgoers get extra time to sell stock

By Alistair Driver

PIG farmers who feared they could not take advantage of the outgoers scheme because of foot-and-mouth restrictions have been thrown a lifeline.

To be eligible for grants under the government scheme, producers quitting the industry were required to sell their pigs by the end of August.

But this has proved difficult in some cases because of foot-and-mouth movement restrictions.

The collapse of cull-sow prices because of the export ban has also reduced the value of pig herds.

The government has now acknowledged the problem with movement restrictions, the National Pig Association website reports.

It says the producers can now ask for another six months after movement restrictions are lifted to sell their pigs.

Derogation is not automatic and individual farmers must explain why they need the extra time to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The extension was granted after NPA producer group chairman Stewart Houston made a plea to junior agriculture minister Lord Whitty, the website reports.

The outgoers scheme is the first part of the 66 million three-year Pig Industry Restructuring Scheme.

Over 900 farmers that have already left the industry or want to quit have qualified for grants worth over 15m in the first year of the scheme.

Applications for the second part of the scheme, the ongoers part providing grants for restructuring businesses closes on 3 August.

The NPA is encouraging producers to apply for the scheme which offers interest rate relief on loans, linked to an agreed business plan.

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