AHDB pork levy to fund cull and render service

An off-farm cull and render service is to be launched to help producers struggling with a backlog of pigs on-farm.

AHDB is setting up the facility at a cost of up to £20,000, funded by the pork levy.

It will be able to handle between 2,000 and 3,000 mature pigs a week and forms part of a package of measures AHDB is helping to deliver alongside government and industry to address the challenges facing the sector. The facility will open as soon as possible and is likely to run for between eight and 12 weeks.

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AHDB will also cover any idle time staff costs during operation of the plant, which will make an operating charge per pig to the producer, arranged between the two parties. More detail on the likely range of charges and location of the plant is awaited. 

AHDB divisional director of engagement Will Jackson said: “The provision of a cull and render service in an established abattoir will offer farmers who cannot, at any price,  sell their pigs for processing into the food chain, a way to minimise the impact of the situation.

“The challenges on the pork sector right now are extremely concerning and AHDB is working with government and industry to address the issues and try to find solutions that help our levy payers.”

AHDB also recently announced a one-month levy holiday for November to help ease the financial burden faced by levy payers.

The levy body has also been providing independent evidence to government setting out the seriousness of the situation, including insight which helped gain approval for visas to 800 trained butchers and abattoir staff to alleviate the skills shortage.

National Pig Association chief executive Zoe Davies said the move was a welcome interim measure as the sector waited for the government’s interventions to take effect.

“We thank AHDB and the plant involved, although we sincerely hope the facility is never actually required, it is important to have this contingency option ready to use just in case,” said Ms Davies.