Pigmen face paper mountain

THE NATIONAL Pig Association are concerned by a rising tide of bureaucracy at a time when pig margins are also coming under pressure.

A recent shock report from Essex University found that pig farmers are losing up to £5.79/pig.

Industry concerns have led to a meeting between NPA member and leading Lincolnshire pig producer, John Godfrey, and Environment Minister Elliott Morley.

Mr Morley expressed some sympathy over the weight of legislation faced by the industry, but said there were no plans to ease the burden.

The NPA‘s concerns cover a number of issues, including licensing difficulties to enable farmers with approved incinerators to burn general waste.

Another worry is the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control rules, which will apply in two years to all intensive producers with more than 750 sows or 2,000 finisher places, adding a mountain of paperwork.

At the same time, there could be threats from animal rights extremists and those opposed to large scale livestock production units if producers‘ IPPC details are made available.

Mr Godfrey also said that producers would be caught out by changes in the Climate Change Levy system.

From now on, any carbon reported as being in a compliant producer‘s account will be “retired” whether or not the sector passes its overall target.

A proposed ban on advertising prescription-only drugs was described as “gold plating” EU proposals, hitting income at specialist pig and farming publications and narrowing the choice available to producers.

Many outdoor producers also appear confused over the levels to which cross compliance rules will be interpreted under the new single farm payment system. 

The NFU is advising members with split arable and pig enterprises to separate their businesses before a cross compliance inspection.

This is so that the failure of an outdoor pig enterprise to cross comply does not jeopardise the payments received by the arable part of the enterprise.

Because of the relatively low level of the first area payments, some outdoor producers may seek to establish but not claim on their entitlements for the first two years of the SFP system.

However, failure to claim in the first three years will see entitlements lost to the National Reserve without compensation.

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