18 January 2001
Oxford chairman quits farming role

By Alistair Driver

THE chairman of the Oxford Farming Conference quit her post at the National Pig Association just one month after she was elected, it has emerged.

Lincolnshire pig producer Meryl Ward received more votes than any of 15 other farmers when she was voted on to the NPA producer group in November.

But she quit her post in December – less than a month later – citing “other commitments”, it was confirmed on Thursday (18 January).

On top of her work with this years Oxford Farming Conference, Mrs Ward has just launched a national food marketing project.

Before she was elected, Mrs Ward had had her differences with the NPA.

She was disappointed the association did not support the British Pig Industry Support Groups failed legal action against the government last summer.

She had spearheaded the case which alleged that the Ministry of Agriculture had discriminated against pig farmers regarding controls to minimise BSE.

The producer group met this week with two new members replacing Mrs Ward and Mike Blanchard, who has stepped down through ill health.

East Anglias Mick Proctor and central/south member Charles Allen had both stood in the election which saw Mrs Ward elected to the NPA producer group.

The NPA is in the process of appointing a new chief executive to replace Mike Sheldon, who left at the end of last year.